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THE TRUST PROBLEM
THE studies upon which this work is based began some thirty years ago when the writer of the first edition in looking over the field of future economic development of the United States, reached the conclusion that the question of the trusts was likely to be one of the two most prominent subjects of legislation in the near future. It was thought best to make the study as practical as possible, chiefly from personal investigation of large corporations through contact with their officers and workmen, their opponents, and dealers in their goods, and also from such printed statistical data as seemed to be trustworthy. In following out this plan, the first study, owing to the personal connections of the writer, was on the organization and work of the Michigan Salt Association, March (1888). This was followed in 1889 by a brief history of the Whiskey Trust in the days when it still remained a trust in its legal form of organization. These two studies, especially the latter, indicated so clearly many of the advantages and at the same time the dangers to the public of these great combinations of capital, that it became possible to draw some general conclusions. A few years later, in 1894, a further study along the same lines, including the organization of the Standard Oil Company and of the
American Sugar Refining Company so clearly indicated the causes of the organization of these combinations and many of their effects that the writer ventured to draw general conclusions regarding the economic effects of great industrial combinations, and to indicate briefly the probable nature of legislation that would be needed to place proper restraints upon their action while at the same time preserving the advantages coming from their organization. It has been gratifying to note that the facts gathered were so typical in their nature that the judgments based upon them have been largely vindicated by the course of the latest legislation and the most recent court decisions.
Aside from the general literature on the subject and various personal studies made by both authors of this edition, the chief opportunities for collecting material have been in the investigation carried on by the United States Industrial Commission during the years 18991901 and in later studies made in 1913-1915 in connection with the cases of the United States against the International Harvester Company, and the United States Steel Corporation and two or three minor cases. Especially in the case of the United States Steel Corporation, opportunity was afforded for a most thorough study of data accumulated by both the Government and the Corporation at great expense and with the greatest care, together with the testimony presented on both sides. It is probable that nowhere else can be found so valuable a collection of material covering the entire range of business activities of one of the great combinations. Although all these valuable materials have been freely at the disposition of the authors it