Hon. Seth Low h.'90, of New York, gave a lecture on "New Business Problems" last evening, under the auspices of the Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Low treated his subject from the point of view of law, of policy, and from the personal point of view.
Nearly all the difficulties we have to deal with in regard to interstate commerce arise from the laws which now control business. The Interstate Commerce Law of 1870 is a successful attempt to control interstate commerce by regulation: the Sherman Anti-Trust Law of 1890, on the other hand, is an attempt to control interstate commerce by preventing combinations in restraint of trade, and up to the present time it has not been successful. The United States under the law can control the agent but cannot control the interstate commerce that the agent engages in, the latter being under state control. The remedy for the present unsatisfactory conditions is to put the agent and its business under the same control, namely, that of the federal government.
If you do away with the right to incorporate, you must restore the competition of the old days, but nobody thinks that possible and very few think it is desirable. The correct policy to pursue is to put competition under reasonable regulation. The question which confronts the United States today is merely this: shall we try to work back towards perfect competition, or shall we accept the other alternative and regulate competition and confront the problem of fixing prices for all the most important commodities in the same manner as railroad rates, gas rates, and the like?
The personal question which enters into the business relations of today is that of individual honor. Many corporations value a man according to the results he obtains in his department, without regard to the methods by which those results are secured. The principle that is to be observed in every business relation, great or small, is this: "keep your honor bright, and do not do for the sake of your employer or your own sake what you know in your heart is unworthy of an honorable man."