Corporate Death Penalty, Correction and Comments

Lots of excellent mail and other feedback is coming in about my column last week speculating about the value of a corporate death penalty.

Several folks have noted an error in the column. I’m incorrect to say that more minorities than whites are put to death in America. I should have said that black and brown people are disproportionately charged with offenses carrying the death penalty, and hold a disproportionate share of the beds on the nation’s death rows.

Ah, say people who favor killing people in our names, that’s only because minority populations are more likely to commit capital crimes. See, for example, Dudley Sharp’s Pro & Con: The Death Penalty in Black and White, in which he says concerns about racism are “spurious.”

He seems sincere, but the evidence I’ve seen suggests he’s horribly wrong. See the ACLU’s Capital Punishment is Unfair. Also, from the Death Penalty Information Center, The Death Penalty in Black & White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides.

More to the main point of the column, some other folks pointed out that corporations can have their charters revoked, but I don’t think that’s an equivalent. A simple revocation isn’t an appropriate punishment for the kind of misbehavior that might warrant such an extreme penalty.

  • Here’s Part 1 of an interesting article on the subject of holding corporations accountable. Here’s Part 2.
  • Slashdot linked to the column, and here’s that discussion.
  • And here’s our forum.

    about other useful links.


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