The concept of a “corporation” has existed in common-law jurisdictions for a very long time, because in the usual course of events it’s a very useful legal fiction.
If the people in a local community want to hire someone to build something for them, the existence of corporations allows the local council (one corporation) to sign a contract with a construction firm (another corporation). If there were no corporations, then who would sign the contract on either side? How could either party to the contract enforce it against the other party? Who would actually go sign the court papers, and go along to the courthouse?
If that same local community wanted to hire someone as an employee, who would the employee enforce their rights against? Without the existence of a corporation, the employee would have to sue each and every inhabitant in that community. Inevitably the employee would go after either the richest inhabitant (on the basis that that’s where the money is), or would go after the poorest inhabitants (on the basis that they wouldn’t be able to afford to defend themselves effectively). Either the law would have to allow this, or it would have to make (say) each of 20,000 inhabitants only liable for one-20,000th of any amount due. The problems with either possibility should be obvious.
The same principle applies if a group of people get together to form a business. If you have dealings with (say) Barnes & Noble, you only want to be dealing with one business at one address; but you can’t do that without the existence of corporations. What if you have a gripe with Barnes & Noble, and that gripe is that they do a particular thing they contracted to do; who would you make do that thing? What if it were something beyond the capacity of an individual human being (such as supplying 80,000 textbooks)?
Having corporations allows local government to function, charities to exist, businesses to operate. But their existence also allows private individuals to deal with a single entity when dealing with local government, charities, and businesses, rather than having to deal with a whole load of private individuals.
And then there’s national government. If I want to sue the US federal government, it makes life a hell of a lot easier for me to just fill in “The Attorney-General of the United States” in the relevant box on the court’s form, than to have to list out all 300,000,000 or so people living in the US!