Corporations as Semi-States

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When Ebola came to West Africa in 2014, Liberia could not cope. The State’s already fragile public health infrastructure was largely ineffective in responding to the illness and preventing its spread. And, the World Health Organization’s support was slow and stilted. By contrast, Firestone, a tire company that operates a vast rubber plantation in Liberia and runs its own hospital for 80,000 employees, family dependents, and persons in neighboring localities, responded to the virus much more effectively. This Article uses Firestone’s Ebola response as an entry point to study a phenomenon too frequently overlooked.