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THE COURSE OF EMPIRE

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Copyright, 1920,
By BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc.

277758

Printed in the United States of America
INTRODUCTION

M

OMENTOUS happenings crowd the years from 1893 to 1901. During that brief span thronging incidents

jostled one another for the position of greatest historic consequence.

One epoch came definitely to a close. Between 1893 and 1901 the United States entered a new era.

The panic of 1893 gave the death blow to the old idea that competition was the essential of industrial progress. Through the earlier years of the century the business world held tenaciously to the principle that competition was the life of trade and that the only way to preserve the economic efficiency of the industrial world was to maintain competition in its most virulent forms. Experience with previous panics had done much to shatter the faith of business men in the necessity of competition. The business disasters which accompanied the panic of 1893 were so overwhelmingly that they called for some drastic reorganization of industrial method. The commercial failures in 1892 had numbered 10,344, with liabilities of $114,044,000. The next year the number of failures increased by 50 per cent. (to 15,242) and the liabilities rose 200 per cent. (to $346,779,000). Until 1898 the numbers of failures continued to be abnormally high and the liabilities of failed concerns varied from a maximum of 226 millions in 1896 to a minimum of 130 millions in 1898.

There was but one answer to this challenge of business disorganization. If the failure of manufacturers threatened other manufacturers; if a run on one bank presaged a run on other banks; if experience had shown that injury to one was injury to all, then, manifestly, the time had come to revise the "competition is the life of trade" formula and to discover some more satisfactory principle on which to conduct business. The corporation proved to be the means; the trust (a large

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