The Trust Problem in the United States

By Eliot Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
CONCLUSION

The conclusions of the preceding chapters may be summarized in brief. The modern trusts were organized primarily for L the purpose of suppressing or restricting competition, and thus of securing monopoly prices and profits. An incidental consideration was the prospect of large profits for the promoters. In the prospectuses offering the securities of the trusts to the public much was made of the economies of the trust form of organization; and the trusts were able to realize a considerable number of savings that were not open to less all-embracing business units. Nevertheless, if the conclusions of chapter XIX are warranted, the desire to reduce costs was not the main reason for the formation of trusts; and though twenty years have elapsed since the outbreak of the modern trust movement, the economic superiority of trusts over less comprehensive corporate units has not been established. Moreover, though competition was keen prior to the formation of trusts, it was not ruinous; and therefore the creation of these mammoth organizations can not be explained on the ground of economic necessity. The foregoing considerations serve to account for the anti-trust legislation that had as its object the removal of impediments to the free play of competitive forces, and to explain the series of dissolution suits instituted by successive administrations.

What has been the result of all this agitation and legislation and prosecution? It would appear that much has been accomplished toward placing business on a higher moral plane. Fair methods of competition in commerce have been promoted, and the policy of oppression of competitors has been moderated in response to public opinion and to fear of the law. Moreover, many concerns have reorganized their affairs to meet the wishes of the prosecuting branch of the government. Furthermore,

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