Legal fiction

Apple is one of the most successful companies of all time. It’s an icon that most in the world can recognize. But does it really exist?

Take away all the workers, you could hire new ones. Take away all the phones, you could build new ones. Get rid of all the shareholders, and many will line up to replace them. But, if the company was ordered to be shut down, the factories would remain standing, the workers would continue living and find other jobs, the shareholders would move their investments. Apple would be gone. Vanished. That’s because Apple is an idea, a figment of our imagination, or as lawyers call it legal fiction. In this example of Apple, it is something that you can point to but isn’t a physical object. This computer I am typing on is a computer with a bitten apple on it. But the apple is just a logo. Apple the corporation is an idea. An agreement of what it is. The sum of the parts that makes an invisible entity.

This is what I mean on this blog when I say, “It’s all invented.” Democracy, for instance, is an idea not an object. And so is freedom, equality, companies, property…all human inventions. This is one of humanity’s greatest inventions: to create ideas with no physical structure. We are not bound to only create things that we can only see. Stack a bunch of brick together and you don’t just have bricks, now you have a home!

We can create ideas that spread that can be used for good or one’s own gain. Propaganda obviously can be a powerful tool. One that rallies the masses towards a cause greater than ourselves or to justify atrocity.

We are not bound to the lengths of a page. And once we recognize these structures are invented, we can invent new ones, better ones that create a more just world.