Maintaining Competition: Requisites of a Governmental Policy

Maintaining Competition: Requisites of a Governmental Policy

Maintaining Competition: Requisites of a Governmental Policy

Maintaining Competition: Requisites of a Governmental Policy

Excerpt

A quarter of a century ago Beatrice and Sidney Webb published a book under the title A Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain. This was an endeavor to provide an organizational blueprint and a policy statement as to what would be involved in establishing socialism in the specific setting of Great Britain at that time. It differed from previous works on socialism by descending from the level of abstract principles and ultimate goals to a discussion of proximate objectives within a given environment and techniques for achieving those objectives.

Although the system of competitive private enterprise has been a standard for the appraisal of economic phenomena for more than a century and a half and, to varying degrees, has been the basis of the policy of the major industrial nations throughout most of that period, there has been no similar attempt to describe the content of a competitive policy. During the earlier part of the competitive era attention was directed toward removing repressive governmental controls, but spokesmen for the competitive philosophy used generalizations so broad that even the writers formulating them would certainly have modified their proposals had they been given administrative responsibility for carrying them out. No state and no exponent of political economy has ever seriously proposed that there be no governmental activity of any kind except that devoted to the protection of property and the enforcement of contracts. More recently, the comprehensive formulations of economic policy have been attempted by persons who desired to move away from the private enterprise system, while supporters of private enterprise have limited themselves to piecemeal proposals. We have been told how to destroy the competitive system, but not how to maintain it.

The purpose of this book is similar in aim but opposite in direction to that of the Webbs' book. It is to set forth the content of a policy designed to maintain the competitive system within the United States.

The setting of the discussion is the twentieth century in the United States of America. The content of the competitive policy and the difficulties involved in achieving competition have been envisaged . . .

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