Sunday, January 20, 2008

Corporate Metabolism

How much did the 14th Amendment actually get used to benefit African Americans?

Writing fifty years later in 1938, US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black echoed Lincoln's eleventh-hour realization: "...of the cases in this Court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during the first fifty years after its adoption, less than one-half of one percent invoked it in protection of the negro race, and more than fifty per cent asked that its benefits be extended to corporations... "

The notion that corporations self-organize, self-reproduce, self-maintain, self-perpetuate, etc., should not be a huge conceptual hurdle. Consequently, theory about the phenomenological description of an organism based on ideas about linguistic domain — well, that's a mouthful, but it comes in handy for analyzing the corporate form.

On a related track, a former UCLA professor and noted economic theorist named Kenichi Ohmae specializes in the analysis of emerging globalism. He also predicted (some say "encouraged") at least two recent world financial market crashes. Dr Ohmae has proposed a theory about how corporations operate. Namely, to participate in the global economy circa 2000, a transnational must operate simultaneously in four "dimensions". Dr Ohmae articulates these as the visible dimension, the borderless dimension, the cyber dimension, and the dimension of multiples. These translate, respectively, to the arena of "bricks and mortar" business and social contract, the global markets enjoyed by transnationals, the area of computers and media, and the arbitrage of financial instruments (e.g., currencies, stocks, pensions, etc.) in general.

I propose reframing Ohmae's four "dimensions", stated in terms of linguistic domain along the lines of how I just described where a corporation "lives". In that sense, we find a basis of four domains: social contract, law, media, and arbitrage. We may also borrow a fine set of modeling tools from biology for describing the phenomena of corporate form. Recalling the historical opinion stated earlier, the representation of sublation as a corporate belief structure, and the observed rate of sublation as a reflex mechanism, it is no stretch to talk about corporations in terms of phenomenology and metabolism. Armed with 21st century tools, one can trace the autopoiesis of corporate metabolism quite readily. In particular, they behave in some ways (organization) like sponges, in other ways (reproduction) like bacteria, and in other ways (adaptation) like slime molds.

Again, if you use that notion, cite me. This represents original work here, folks, slime molds and all, unveiled in print for the first time. Paco Xander Nathan - Corporate Metabolism


Metabolism boosters guy said...

Interesting post....I have never heard of this before...thanks!