Essays in Social Justice

By Thomas Carver Nixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
THE QUESTION OF MONOPOLY

The Devil is never very far away from those who are respossible to none but God for their actions. -- GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS.

MONOPOLY is very old, but the form of monopoly which now agitates the public mind is an outgrowth of the joint stock corporation which has become the dominant form of business organization. We must therefore begin with a brief examination of the corporation problem. A business corporation is a special form of organization by means of which a number of individuals combine their capital for the purpose of carrying on a business enterprise jointly. The ordinary corporation differs from the ordinary partnership in five main particulars. (1) The partners in a firm have control over the business, but the stockholders in a corporation delegate their authority to a board of directors who have full control. (2) The partners in a firm are individually responsible for all the debts of the firm, but the stockholders of a corporation are, unless otherwise provided by statute, liable only to the amount of their stock. (3) A partner in a firm cannot sell his interest to another and thus introduce a new member into the firm without the consent of the other partners, but the stockholder of a corporation may transfer all or a part of his stock to any one without asking the consent of the other shareholders, in which case the new stockholders have all the rights of the old. (4) The corporation is treated, under a fiction of the law, as a person separate and apart from its stockholders, and may sue or be

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