The corporation is perhaps one of humanity's greatest social inventions, perhaps equal to the concept of democracy itself and the type of government the idea intended to implement, a functioning democratic organism. .
However, the corporation's use, although with the greatest of social potential has been limited primarily to the affairs of business, isolated from its social implications and its latent possibilities. Even in its present form and in its service to business it could become a social serving apparatus.
For example, although health insurance companies could remain profit-making, they could be held in the interest of and by those whom they serve. Of course, what is being described here, it could be said, already exists. Isn't this of a form of cooperative?
The cooperative however is usually owed and managed primarily and merely in the interest of those involved in its undertakings And even a cooperative, a modification of corporation could be extended into the society on a broader basis.
A social corporation could remain as is and managed in the interest of those it serves as well as in the interest of those who own it.
For example, General Motors could in manufacture of cars serve in the interest of its workers and management in the first instance, providing cars to consumers in their interest, aiding in the financing, the servicing and eventually in the trading-in of the cars themselves and still make a profit for stockholders.
The corporation's social interest would be to serve all those involved in this enterprise. It would not be an entity merely to make money but would be meant to become a dynamic social organism within the society.
A smaller element of society, working with all in its spheres of contact, one of many making up the whole society.
Rather than work against increasing the wages of the workers it would work toward finding ways so that the workers could also benefit from the total enterprise and be kept within its activity sphere.
The corporation as it works in the interest of the stockholders and management could find ways of making workers stockholders as well and including them in the management. The consumers of the product could also get involved in the policy-making of the corporation.
Consumers could in this way, in their interest become involved with policy-making with many enterprises rather than waiting for the corporation to guess as to the needs of the consumer. What about small enterprises? Even here the social corporation could be made to work, perhaps even better than it does now.
In today's times, one of the ways to create jobs would be by encouraging and supporting the development of social corporations, big and small and at all levels. Imagine a corporation interested in creating jobs as an efficiency measure or holding on to workers rather than eliminating jobs.
We could conceive of a family-run manufacturing corporation, with for example 12 family members involved in the manufacture of a salable product. Why would the enterprise want to fire one of its own family members for being inefficient? Wouldn't they work toward making him/her more effective?
By each family member owning stock in the corporation they would also want to make a profit. Engaging the consumer in the design of the product (which today is usually done by survey) makes the consumer a potential and loyal customer, a friend of the family, benefiting from the relationship.
The idea of the “social corporation” could also impose itself on the banking industry. Imagine a bank working with its customers in making the best loans available and in assisting their customers in paying off the loan and in the case of mortgages, eliminating the idea of foreclosing.
Federal and State governments should make start-up money available where required for groups establishing reasonable plans for creating a “social corporation.” The start-up, its establishment and its function, then to be closely monitored until the organism is functioning and takes off on its own.
These are the times for innovative thinking. The time for the social corporation has come, regardless of the times.