Corporations were not and are not created by government, any more than sole proprietorships or partnerships were or are. The corporate form goes back hundreds of years. Corporations existed before the United States existed and were recognized in Common Law.Originally Posted by catspa
 A corporation is formed by private parties coming together and filing certain documents with an agency of a State government. State and federal laws define formalities that must be adhered to for private parties to form a corporation, including documents that must be filed, the form and content of those document and fees that must be paid. But it is the private parties that form corporations.
 It's also incorrect to charge corporations with existing "...as a privileged government-created status." The liability of the shareholders of a corporation is limited to the amount of their respective investments, but the corporation as an entity is fully liable for its acts. If you had some stock in Toyota right now, which you could, even indirectly through a mutual fund or a pension fund or a 401k, would you think it right for your personal assets to be subject to claims of Toyota's creditors arising out of its current mess.
 And far from corporations being privileged, they are subject to considerable regulation. State and federal law define how they are governed, the content of their by-laws, the rights of shareholder, requirements for meetings of shareholder, requirements for meeting of boards of directors, obligations of directors, obligations of officers, etc. There are a plethora of further regulations if the corporation wants to sell shares of stock.
 There are all kinds of corporations. Sure there are huge corporations whose stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. But Fred, Harry and Bob might have incorporated that downtown pizza joint that supports them and their families. Your family doctor may be organized as a professional corporation. And the bunch of guys I teach shooting with are, as of a couple of years ago, a non-profit corporation.
 At the end of the day, corporations are owned by individuals -- people like you and me and our friends and neighbors. That's the case whether it's a small corporation operating a local business and whose stock is owned by a few of the folks you might go to church with; or it's an international, publicly traded corporation whose stock is owned by a great many people, including a fellow you go to church with and who is relying in part on his investment in that corporation to help support him and his family when he retires.