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DEBATE OF APRIL 10, 1889.Question: "Resolved, that legislation against trusts and combinations is called for.
Brief for the Affirmative.F. Green and T. Woodbury.
Best general references. Andover Review vol 10, pp. 109-126; North Am. Rev. vol 144, pp. 277-290.
I. Trusts and combinations are an economic evil. (a) They destroy competition, as in the case of the Standard Oil Company. (b) They often limit and suppress production. (c) By control of the market they can raise prices the Copper Syndicate. (d) They tend to build up monopolies and drive small capitalists out of business.- Quarterly Journal of Economics. Jan. 1889. New York State Leg. Report 1888.
II. They render trade and employment unsteady. Sat. Rev. 66, p. 109; 67, p. 88.
III. Capital invested in them is in danger. Nation. 44, p. 381.
IV. They are an evil to the community because of their irresponsibility and secrecy. Andover Rev. pp. 118-119. House Report, 1888, p. 47, 297.
V. They tend to build up an oligarchy which controls legislation and the courst against the interests of the community. North Am. Rev. 146, p. 511.
VI. Trusts have reached an immense development and are on the increase. Spectator, 61, 1253. Qr. Jl. of Ec. Jan. '89, p. 121.
Brief for the Negative.G. H. Black and F. W. Thayer.
Best general reference. Political Science Quarterly vol. III. pp. 385,592.
I. The supposed dangers arising from trusts are greatly exaggerated. Popular Science Monthly vol. 33, p. 42.
II. Trusts are an economic advantage. (a) by limiting production to demand. Quar. Jour. of Economics Jan. 1889, p. 136. (b) by improving the processes of production. N. Am. Review vol. 136, p. 181. (c) by preventing excessive competition. Age of Steel, Jan. 5, 1889. p. 14 (d) by lessening the fluctuations in prices. Pol. Sci. Quarterly, vol. III. p. 385.
III. It is for the interests of American trusts to lower prices when possible. (a) where prices are at first increased it is due to a reaction from ruinous competition. Remarks of Hon. F. B. Thurber to the N. Y. Senate
Commission. Dec. 12, 188. (b) a temporary increase is followed by a steady decrease in prices. Polit. Sci. Quart. vol. III. p. 402.
IV. The right of Congress to enact such legislation is derived either from the power "to lay taxes" or "to regulate commerce."
V. National legislation will be use-less (a) taxation will affect those trusts only whose existence depends on revenue laws.- John Sherman, Congressional Record, 50th congress, second session, p. 7513. (b) Congress has no power over commerce, corporations, or partnership within a state.- Fiftieth congress, second session, pp. 619, 8520,8560.
VI. State legislation will be inefficient. (a) It cannot apply beyond the borders of the state; (b) it will vary in different states; (c) its operation within a state is limited.- Cook on "Trusts and Combinations," p. 17; 19 Abbott's New Case, 450.
VII. Neither state nor national legislation can reach trusts organized outside, but operating within the United States.
VIII. No sufficient reasons exist for declaring trusts illegal.
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