By the close of the first period of associational growth, in 1898, . . . industrial development had reached the point where the local and state associations were no longer able to cope with the problems, national in character, involving the entire trade and industry. Federal legislation, and the many economic problems affecting the industry as a whole, could only be dealt with successfully by a national association. There had been a great deal of overlapping of work, and confusion of policies by the local and state associations. Therefore, national associations were formed to coordinate and to supplement the work of the local and state associations.
Trade associations had now passed through the preparatory period of development, and were entering upon a period of accomplishment. The concentration upon price activity of the first period was slowly giving way to more positive and constructive work. Emphasis was changed from efforts to restrict competition to developing ability to meet competition. The national association became an organization of service. The conventions placed greater emphasis upon educational and less upon the social activities. Business leaders gave more and more of their time and money for the upbuilding of their respective trades and industries, enabling their national associations to widen their scope, and to make more effective their scope of work, and to establish an all-year-round organization.
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The greatest stimulus to the trade association movement was due to the growing realization of the value of the association as a constructive service organization. The association, for the most part, ceased to be merely a defensive organization for the purpose of protecting members in case of emergency. Legislation, court decisions, and general public opinion checked the use of trade associations as a means of controlling the market and of fixing prices. . . . The associations added new activities until today they cover every phase of business. Members have gradually come to look to the association as an educational institution from which they can receive recent and accurate information on the problems within their industry, and on business conditions in general. It is the association which renders valuable service that grows in membership and in power. The success of an association in dealing with the problems affecting its members has, in itself, been an important factor in encouraging, and in many cases compelling, other trades and industries to organize.
George W. Stocking and Myron W. Watkins
Businessmen organized more trade associations from 1925 through 1929 than during any previous five-year period.1 In truth, trade associa