Glasbeek, Harry. BA, LLB (Melbourne), JD (Chicago). Class Privilege: How Law Shelters Shareholders and Coddles Capitalism (2017). p. 168 Bottom.
This is a good juncture at which to remind ourselves that the market's tenets of personal responsibility for one's choices, as idealized by Adam Smith, provide a major justification for an economic scheme of private ordering and wealth creation. The fundamental premise is that, as long as the market's basic principles reign, we can expect responsible and efficient behaviours. This bestows legitimacy on the search for private profits. It would evaporate if no persuasive reason could be offered as to why practising capitalists, simply by adopting a corporate guise, should not be subjected to the normal rules of the idealized market. A series of justifying reasons have had to be crafted.
The first response is that, as a matter of law, the corporation is an individual, like a natural person. It is a legitimate participant in the market, just as human beings are. It follows that, if the corporation and its agents are
held responsible for violations of market standards, the market's principles are being honoured. But this is a bootstrap argument. The reason any justification is required in the first place is that the corporation is understood to be an association. It is a collection of actual persons who should, if the market rules, be responsible for their choices as individuals.
A second response, similar but more nuanced, has been proffered by libertarian economic scholars and policy-makers. The argument is that the personhood of the corporation doesn't matter after all. No matter what the law says, these scholars and policy-making elites contend, the corporation is just a convenience used by entrepreneurs associating with others like them to do their personal thing. The corporation is really a network of individuals who are associating with each other by contracting how they should combine their talents and resources, how to deploy them, and how they are to share out the profits, if any. That is, the corporation is not the market actor; rather, the individual contracting human beings are the real market participants.
I know what bootstrap signifies, but can't relate it to the emboldened phrase overhead.