Competition, Cartels and Their Regulation

By John Perry Miller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
ROLE OF COMPETITION AND MONOPOLY IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT1

JOSEPH J. SPENGLER

Duke University, Durham, N.C., U. S. A.

"Geometry ascended the throne left vacant by philosophy and commonsense; and ingenuous youths and maidens, beguiled into the belief that here was a true picture of the real world, spent the best moments of their young lives in memorizing (generally wrong) endless fantastic patterns of tangencies and intersections."

D. H. Robertson, Quarterly Journal of Economics, February, 1950, p. 8.

"Competition guarantees only that some efficient capital program will be followed... The intertemporal invisible hand... while it results in efficiency over long periods of time,... requires only the most myopic vision on the part of market participants... But for society as a whole there is need for vision at a distance."

Robert Dorfman et al., Linear Programming and Economic Analysis, p. 321.

My discussion of the relation of types of economic organization to economic development has to do with economic development in both relatively underdeveloped and relatively developed countries; it is confined, however, to those parts of the world in which free enterprise plays a major role and the activities of the state are not so predominant as in the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence. Accordingly, after I review the development of economic opinion respecting the comparative effects of competition and monopoly, I shall differentiate between developed and underdeveloped countries and identify some of the factors with which economic development is associated. Then I shall inquire into the impact of alternative forms of economic and business organization upon the more important of the determinants of economic development and indicate the implications of the associations discovered for economic development in both relatively advanced and relatively backward countries.

I shall not assign highly specific and unchanging empirical content to the terms competition and monopoly, or make use of the criteria which have been developed to classify industries and markets precisely in respect of their competitiveness. These terms can be given precise, unchanging, and always applicable meaning only if they are made very general, or if the world to which they relate is quite stable. A world

-7-

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