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Rethinking Corporate Personhood in Consultation with Islam

Jibril Latif


Although its legal definition and properties are still debated today, the abstract and nominalist concept of corporate personhood is seen as a boon in the development of capitalism. Its role was pivotal in scaling Western economies because it attracted capital formations that could maximize profit-seeking whilst mitigating risk and personal liability. Critics maintain, however, that such structured vehicles facilitate cover for bad actors to exact crimes in a legally protected manner, and that while corporations themselves may ultimately be held accountable by the law, the individuals who make said conscious decisions via the corporate vehicle can escape retributive justice. The Islamic civilization also witnessed immense capital formation, but its checks and balances differed in emphasis, prioritizing different aspects of personhood, such as the preservation of lineage. Islamic law’s definition of a person is realist, grounded, and consistent. While it differs in scope, consultation with Islam’s conceptualization of personhood ground a rethinking of best practices in pluralistic societies in search of greater moral economic outcomes.

Jibril Latif, "Rethinking Corporate Personhood in Consultation with Islam," Journal of Markets & Morality 25, no. 2 (2022): 353-364

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