This book is a study of the trust problem in the United States. It presents an account of the early devices employed to restrain competition, and outlines the history and character of the modern trust movement; it describes a number of representative trusts; it analyzes the reasons for the formation of trusts, and their economic and social consequences; it describes the trust legislation, the decision of the courts interpreting it, and the dissolution proceedings brought under it; and, finally, it considers (briefly) remedies.
The book is not a study of all combinations, but merely of those combinations that have (or had) monopolistic power, and that are properly designated as trusts. It is a study of monopolistic aggregations of capital under unified management. It contains no discussion of the experience of foreign countries, and only a brief (incidental) discussion of the experience of our forty eight states. Material on these subjects was collected, but is omitted from the book for want of space, and because of a conviction that the trust problem is a national one, to be settled in the light of the conditions of our particular national life. The analysis of the six representative trusts is not intended to be complete; the aim has been merely to present the data in sufficient fullness to bring out concretely the reasons for forming trusts, the sources of their monopoly power, their tactics, and their economic consequences. In general, the history of individual trusts is not carried beyond the date of the dissolution proceedings instituted by the Department of Justice of the United States. Adequate reliable data for the subsequent history of these trusts are not available; and, moreover, the purpose is not to present a complete history of the representative trusts, but to explain the national policy toward trusts as evidenced by our laws and the manner of their enforcement.