PRICE FIXING BY CO-OPERATION
IN 1917 AND 1918, THE BROADER DEVELOPMENTS RESULTING from the understanding between the industry and the Administration were mirrored in the fixing of steel prices. Each side developed a single bargaining unit, the steel people quickly, the government after some confusion; both sides initially opposed such an arrangement, and then accepted the need for it; and the participants on both sides shared to a large degree certain basic assumptions concerning business ideology and federal controls. The manner in which price fixing problems were solved displayed the entente in its smoothest operation. More than anything else, though, the fixing of steel prices illustrated how this arrangement sharply limited the Administration's alternatives in relation to the problem.
Already inflated steel prices shot up even more after the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany in February, 1917. Basic pig, which normally sold at $15.00-$17.00 per