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Takes A Whack At Trusts

Takes A Whack At Trusts image
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Another topic in which our people rightfuily take a deep interest may be here briefly consldered. I refer to the exlstence of trusts and other huge aggregations of capital the object of which Is to secure the monopoly of some particular branch of trad e, industry or commerce, and so stifle wholesome competition. When these are defended it ! is usually on the ground that though ' they increase proflts they also reduce ' prices and thus may benefit the ' lic. It must be remembered, however, that a reduction of prices to the people is not one of the real objects pf these organlzationa, nor is their dency necessarily in that direction. IL it occurp in a particular case it is only becse it accords with the purpose or Ji?rest oL those managïng the SC6me. Such occasional results fall far short of compensating the palpable evils charged to the account of trusts and monopolies. Their tendency is to crush out individual independence and to hinder or prevent the free use of human fa.culties and the full development of human character. Through them the farmer, the artisan and the small trader is in danger of dislodgement from the proud position of baing his own master, watchful of all that touches his country's prosperity, in which he has an individual lot, and interested in all that aftects the advantages of business of which he is a factor, to he relegated to the level of a mere appurtenance to a great machine, with little free will, with no duty but that of passive obedience, and with little hope or opportunity of rising in tlie scale of responsible and helpful citizenship. ' To the instinctive belief that such Is the inevitable trend of trusts and monopolies is due the wide-spread and deep-seated popular aversión in which they are held, and the not unreasonable insistence that, whatever may be their incidental economie advantages, their general effect upon personal character, prospects and usefulness can not be otherwise than injurious. Though congress has attempted to deal with this matter by legislation, the laws passed for that purpose thus far have 'proved ineffectual, not because of any lack of disposition or attempt to enforce them, but simply because the laws themselves as interpreted by the courts do not reach the difflculty. If the insufficiencies of existing laws can be remedied byfurther legislation it should be done. It should be recognized, however, that all federal legislation on this subject may fall short of its purpose because of inherent obstacl3s, and also because of the complex character of our government system, which, while making the federal authority supreme within its sphere, has carefully limited that fear by metes and bounds which cannot be transgressed. The decisión of our highest court on this precise question renders it quite doubtful whether the evils of the trusts and monopolies can be adequately treated through federal action, unless they seek directly and purposely to include In their objects transportation or intercourse between states, or between the United States and foreign countries. It does not follow, however, that this is the limit of the remedy that may be applied. Even though it may be found that federal authority is not broad enough to fully reach the case, there can be no doubt of the power of the several states to act effectively in the premises, and there should be no reason to doubt their willingness to judiclously exercise such power.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News