Trusts as Inevitable


strangebedfellows.JPG (25537 bytes)

Scanned from Puck Dec 27, 1911

In this cartoon, the figure on the left is wearing a nightshirt labeling him as a "socialist."  The figure on the right is wearing a nightshirt labeling him as a "trust magnate."  The slogan on the bed's headboard, "Business Combination is Inevitable" reflected on argument in defense of "the trusts."   Socialists argued that capitalism inevitably led to the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small upper class of people. Business leaders pointed out that firms grew as a result of superior practices in a competitive market.  Roosevelt, in his espousal of the "new nationalism" essentially agreed.  Wilson, in his assertion of the "new freedom" was ambivalent.  The Supreme Court in 1911 settled on a doctrine of the "rule of reason" that allowed firms to be large if they grew through reasonable and fair competitive practices.

See antitrust history!