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President Charles R. Van Hise, h. '08, Ph.D., LL.D., of the University of Wisconsin, spoke under the auspices of the Wisconsin Club on "Concentration of Industry" in Emerson D yesterday afternoon. The speaker was introduced by president Lowell.
President Van Hise opened his address with a discussion of monopoly. Before the 19th century transportation was so poorly developed that it was possible to have monopoly in small areas of country, and it was therefore natural that monopoly should be controlled and even prices fixed by law. Within the last century, however, prices began to be regulated by competition; and, with the growth of transportation, commodities fell into the hands of a few men and corporations. Thus, transporation which prevented monopoly in the old days, now helped its growth on a much larger scale.
The remedy for preventing monopolies in restraint of trade is not to be gained by enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act nor by breaking up corporations. In order to prevent excessive monopoly, we should create trade commissions, both state and national, provided with the same power that the Inter-state Commerce Commission has had over the railroads. This Commission has the power of fixing reasonable rates, and the system has worked to the advantage of both the railroads and the public. Besides the power of regulating rates, a trade commission should have the authority to break up consolidations which are in restraint of trade under the existing law, and to limit the production of certain commodities on behalf of economy and the conservation of our national resources. The actual establishing of this proposed commission can only be done by amending the Sherman Act.
In closing, President Van Hise discussed the objections raised against this plan and showed that they were of little consequence. Finally, he emphasized the point that these proposals do not restrict competition in business, but only apply to competition in prices, and that they are not proffered in behalf of socialism, but of social responsibility.
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