In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938

Overview

Legal scholar Butler Shaffer proposes a reexamination of the traditional interpretation of government and business relations in the post-World War I period. The common view of American economic history suggests that in the years between the end of World War I and the start of the New Deal, the business system operated within a largely laissez-faire environment characterized by irresponsible practices detrimental to the broader interests of American society. Shaffer offers an entirely different interpretation of ...
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Overview

Legal scholar Butler Shaffer proposes a reexamination of the traditional interpretation of government and business relations in the post-World War I period. The common view of American economic history suggests that in the years between the end of World War I and the start of the New Deal, the business system operated within a largely laissez-faire environment characterized by irresponsible practices detrimental to the broader interests of American society. Shaffer offers an entirely different interpretation of the period. In the years preceding World War I, American industries had experienced intense and troublesome competition. During the war years, however, much of the American business system was brought under the control of the War Industries Board, a governmental agency that was under the effective control of business leaders. This board had the power to direct production, pricing, allocation of resources and finished products, and other basic decisions within the business sector. Such wartime experiences with government regulation of practices that were normally left to the informal disciplines of the marketplace inspired many business leaders to look for an effective way to restrain and regularize the intensely competitive trade practices prevailing within their industries. What emerges from this book is an awareness that the relationship between government and business has been far more symbiotic than adversarial in the years following World War I, and that government regulatory practices have served the needs of the business community far more than the interests of the public.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838753255
  • Publisher: Bucknell University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1997
  • Pages: 288

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Introduction 13
1 Making the World Safe from Competition 21
2 Trade Associations and Codes of Ethics 51
3 Political Alternatives 77
4 Under the Blue Eagle and Beyond 105
5 The Steel Industry 123
6 The Natural-Resource Industries 145
7 Retailing and Textiles 182
8 In Retrospect 207
Notes 215
Bibliography 251
Index 271
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