DEBATE OF OCTOBER 24, 1889.Question: Resolved that the government should take steps to assume the ownership and management of the railways.
(Brief for the Affirmative).W. K. Post and K. Fairbank.
Best general references-Harper's Monthly, Vol. 73, "Social Problems;" Jeans Railway Problems; American Association's Publications Vol. II.
I. Many evils exist under our present system-Harper 73, p. p. 450-457; American Economic Association II p. 27-29, p. p. 42, 44. (a) The waste of national wealth-Harpers 73, p. p. 452-453; Am. Econ. Assoc. II, p. p. 56, 57. (b) Speculation-Hadley; R. R. Transportation chapter III. (c) Discrimination-Hadley, chapter VI; Harper 73, p. p. 454, 455; Am. Econ. Assoc. II p 42. (d) Dangers of private monopoly-Fortnightly Review November 1, 1873.
II. These evils will continue to exist as long as our present system exists; they cannot be abolished by law-Hadley chapter 4.
III. Government ownership and management will remedy these evils for: 1. It is more economical-Harper 73, Jeans p. 460. 2. It will stop speculation and mitigate crises. 2. It will prevent discrimination. 4. It will do away with private monopoly. 5. It will decrease accidents-eans p. 461. 6. It will stop bad and varying legislation.
IV. Answers to disadvantages claimed for government ownership and management. 1. Conditions are not as alleged, unfavorable-Labor, article on transportation. 2. Political effect would be beneficial rather than injurious, on account of (a) increased civil service and (b) scrutiny of opposition party and press. 3. Individual enterprise is quickened instead of dulled-Harpers Monthly, Vol 73. 4. Instances of inferiority of state roads in other countries are due to conditions not existing here.
V. Summing up of points.
Brief for the Negative.A. C. Burnham and C. P. Blaney.
Best general reference: Hadley, Railroad Transport tion; Hudson. The Railways and the Republic; Jevous, the Railroads and the State, in Methods of Social Reform.
I. A government enterprise to be successful must have (a) routine business, (b) small amount of capital, (c) must be submitted to public inspection-Jevous, The Railroads and the State.
II. Railroads fill none of these requirements.
III. That government control of railroads has been unsuccessful is shown by results in (1) Belgium, (2) Germany. (3), Italy.- Hadley, Railroad Transportation, pp. 217, 246, 228, 214; Spofford. The Railroad Question; Hudson, The Railways and the Republic, p. 326.
IV. Conditions much less favorable for success of government management in a Republic. (a) Difficulty of detecting bad management. Impossibility for the public at large to do so.- Hadley, Railroad Transportation, pp. 57-60. (b) Legitimate differences in charges would not be submitted to under government ownership in a republic. Cheap transportation to a great extent dependent on such differences-Hadley, Railroad Transportation, p. 112. (c) Certain to be degradation of railroad offices into rewards for party service-Hudson, The Railways and the Republic, p. 327; Spofford, The Railroad Question, p. 18.
V. That government ownership is no remedy for railroad abuses is shown by the equally grave abuses in govern ment departments.