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Stating that NRA had disregarded the interests of consumers, Dr. Lloyd G. Reynolds, of the Economics Department, speaking on "Corporations and the Courts" in the fourth of the fall series of radio programs sponsored by The Harvard Guardian, called on government to make up its mind between enforced competition under the Sherman Act, or public regulation of industry.
In his speech, carried by Station WAAB and the Colonial network last night, Dr. Reynolds declared that self-regulation of industry "places in the hands of private interests tremendous power, with no guarantee that this power will be used for the public good." He stated that "where competition exists the chances of planful exploitation of the public are reduced and the likelihood of technical progress is increased," but said that "competition has already practically disappeared in many industries, and that in other industries it has proven conspicuously wasteful." Placing public regulation as the only alternative to competition, Dr. Reynolds said that it would be necessary that "a public agency . . . shall actually decide . . . the level of prices and profits and the extent of new investment."
Of the anti-trust laws the speaker said that "despite frequent prophecies of their death, these laws are not only alive but show signs of renewed vitality." Reviewing the history of the oil industry, he declared that the Sherman Anti-trust Law has eliminated rough-and-tumble methods and hitting below the belt, and prevented an outright monopoly of gasoline, but it "has not altered the desire of business men to combine; nor has it enabled you and me to get our gasoline at the lowest possible prices." On the arrival of NRA, "the voice of the consumer was drowned in the din, and prices were successfully raised."
Dr. Reynolds concluded his speech with the statement that "there is no need to lay down a uniform policy for all industries. It is the objective which is important, not the method."
Dr. John K. Fairbanks will speak next Monday, November 1 at 1:30 o'clock on the question, "Should the United States help England in China?" over station WAAB and the Colonial network, in the Guardian's fifth program.
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