What is a Corporation?

You may be wondering what a “corporation” actually is, or perhaps, how I define it on my blog; as well as that parameters that I’m going to follow as I embark on my journey of anti-corporate living. I, too, find this act of spelling out what exactly I mean by a “corporation”, to be both informative and necessary; so that I don’t ignorantly defy my own (self-imposed) values and ideals.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “corporation” as:

“1:   a a group of merchants or traders united in a trade guild 
        b the municipal authorities of a town or city
2a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession
3an association of employers and employees in a basic industry or of members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporative state”
Number two most closely aligns with what I think of when I hear the word “corporation”, however, it doesn’t quite capture the colloquial meaning of the word, or what we counter-corporation-ists choose to defy.
Incorporated“, meanwhile, means “1united in one body 2formed into a legal corporation”; now we’re getting closer. But let’s drill down even further: Entrepreneur.com provides a more detailed explanation in the context of incorporating a business which in its simplest forms means filing articles of incorporation with the state in which the company is registered, and the legal meaning: “A form of business operation that declares the business as a separate, legal entity guided by a group of officers known as the board of directors”. As they point out, “A corporate structure is perhaps the most advantageous way to start a business because the corporation exists as a separate entity. In general, a corporation has all the legal rights of an individual, except for the right to vote and certain other limitations”.
Now that the foundation for our shared meaning of the word “corporation” and “incorporated” is established, it is important to make a clear distinction about the type of corporations that I am going to proactively avoid. Indeed, I do not wish to generalize or paint a broad stroke about all businesses that have filed articles of incorporation; declaring them wholly evil or negative, because that would be both ignorant and false. Nor do I plan to avoid all incorporated businesses, since this too would be nearly impossible and unnecessarily difficult. Rather, when I refer to “corporations”, I mean mega-sized corporations that are conglomerates of subsidiaries that span many industries and countries, with billion dollar revenue streams. More importantly, I define them by their goals: those of total market domination, perpetual stock market growth, irreversible environmental damage, and staggering political influence.
For an introduction on some mega corporations, 2016’s list of the top ten largest corporations can be found here and 2017’s list can be found here. As you’ll note, the list largely stayed the same aside from the addition of Berkshire Hathaway to the list for this year. For these companies and their owners/CEOs, it is about ever-expanding resource control and power that comes with the sheer size and level of reach that they have over our daily lives and existence.
Lastly, I’m not going to be naive and expect businesses to not try and increase their profits and market shares because that is the very basis of business and competition; however, the difference lies in the intent and values of companies and corporations, and whether they have ethical business practices. In addition, I believe that it is important to support companies that treat their employees well, engage in responsible resource management, and strive to improve their communities instead of taking advantage of them for their own gain. Therefore, I will not draw a line in the sand and create an arbitrary dollar threshold that separates acceptable companies as those that generate profits less than $X from unacceptable companies that produce profits greater than $X.  Rather, I believe it’s important to make mindful choices about the companies from which you purchase your goods and services. Since spending money is the equivalent to, if not more influential, than casting an actual ballot.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this, so please share below!

The Corbett Report: “How Big Oil Conquered the World”

This YouTube (corporation, I know) video presents a comprehensive overview of the rise of the oil oligarchs and the far-reaching impact that they’ve had, and continue to have, on the world as we know it today. I highly recommend it as a primer to understanding the impact that mega corporations have on almost every facet of our life and the horrific damage they have imposed on the Earth and it’s inhabitants.

Link: How Big Oil Conquered the World

Buying: Clothes

Luckily, clothes provide one of the easier and more fun opportunities for those looking to support local businesses and non-corporate entities with their purchases. Nowadays, there are tons of online platforms and apps that make it easier than ever to buy used, secondhand, and even brand new clothes, without paying one dime to a corporation. I personally love this concept, since it is not only more economical and environmentally friendly to buy clothes secondhand, but you also get to find more unique and one-of-a-kind options while benefiting individuals and small businesses.

Thrift Stores

If you’ve never shopped in a thrift store, you’re definitely missing out! While it’s true that it can be frustrating to find the perfect garment and then discover that it’s one size too small, it’s also incredibly rewarding when you stumble upon a vintage, designer garment for 1/100 of the original price. I wouldn’t recommend this for people who are interested in wearing only specific brands, but then again, living the anti-corporate lifestyle is not for those sheeple anyways. While Goodwill is ubiquitous, avoid it due to its status of a corporation, and choose your local thrift store, generally associated with a church or non-profit, instead.

Consignment Stores

Consignment stores are a step-up from thrift stores since they generally only sell barely worn goods in near-perfect condition. Shopping in these establishments will reap you the benefit of lower prices while supporting local businesses, and reduce time spent rifling through enormous racks of clothes. However, the prices will be higher than thrift stores and nor will they have multiple sizes for a single item, but if it’s designer ware you’re after, take a peek into your local spot. Best way to find a consignment shop is performing a map search to find one in your area.

Websites & Apps

For online shoppers, I highly suggest looking into the following websites/apps for great deals on secondhand and new clothes: Poshmark, Ebay, Thredup, or Etsy (as an added bonus, if you have unwanted clothes in good condition, you can also make some extra cash selling your items on the same sites!)

Clothing Swaps

Another one of my favorite ideas where I can both get new clothes and get rid of extra clothes, is to have a clothing swap with friends and then donate any unclaimed items to a thrift store.  In this way, everyone gets a chance to experience some much needed catharsis from cleaning out their closets and walk away with some free clothes! It’s a win-win situation in every sense of the word. I like to enhance the experience by asking people to contribute some food or drinks as well, and then it turns into a party!

I would love to hear about your experiences buying local, secondhand, and anti-corporate, so please in the comment section below. Additionally, if you know of any other platforms, brands, or stores that I didn’t already mention, please provide for the benefit of the other readers!