The Trust Problem in the United States

By Eliot Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX 1
THE ANTICIPATED ECONOMIES OF THE TRUST FORM OF ORGANIZATION--TO WHAT EXTENT REALIZED

There seems little reason to doubt that the modern trust movement originated largely in the desire of the manufacturers to restrict or suppress competition, and thus to secure monopoly profits. Nevertheless the prospect of securing the economies that the trust form of organization apparently promised also played a considerable part. It is the purpose of this chapter to consider in some detail whether these economies, as realized in practice, are of sufficient importance from the standpoint of public welfare to justify trusts, it being assumed that through government regulation it will be possible to control these huge organizations in so far as this seems necessary or desirable. In other words, is the policy of trust dissolution ill-advised, as occasioning the destruction of an organization superior in efficiency to the one it was intended to replace?

In this discussion it is important that the reader keep clearly in mind the meaning of the word trust as it was defined in the beginning of the book.2 The trust, tersely stated, is a horizontal combination possessing monopolistic power. The economies of the trust form of organization must at all times be clearly distinguished, first, from the economies of large-scale production, and second, from the economies that may be realized by a combination not possessing monopolistic power. The trust, it would seem, should receive legal sanction only if it is able with-

____________________
1
See Bullock, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 15, pp. 167-217; Durand, The Trust Problem, ch. 4; Jenks and Clark, The Trust Problem, ch. 3; Montague, Trusts of To-Day, ch. 2; Ely, Monopolies and Trusts, ch. 4; and Industrial Commission, vols. 1 and 13.
2
See p. 1.

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