Professor Edgeworth's Lecture.
Professor F. Y. Edgeworth delivered the third of his lectures yesterday evening on "Value in a Regime of Monopoly." "Recent American research," he said, "has obtained the best available answers to the practical questions relating to Trusts. Abstract theory can only suggest some general views. It may be questioned how much the terms given by a monopolist are worse for the public than those which would be obtained, under like conditions, in a regime of competitors where the number of competitors is small. The oppressiveness of monopoly seems to disappear when the system is supposed to become universal: those who suffer as consumers recouping themselves as producers. But theory suggests that if each industry were controlled by a monopoly, great instability of value would result; not only on account of the "wars," perhaps interminable, between monopolists of rival commodities, but also because the monopolists of complementary commodities, acting independently of each other, might continue to vary prices without limit. There would be no economic equilibrium in such a regime. Prices would not even be seeking their level. A regime of monopoly is further contrasted with that of competition with respect to the incidence of taxation. There is some presumption that a tax on a manufactured article will bear on the consumer less severely when the manufacturer is a monopolist. The possibility of levying a tax on the foreigner by means of a tariff may seem greater in a corresponding degree when, the imported articles are produced by 'Trusts'."