The legal phase of monopolies
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In the treatment of monopolies it is, perhaps, very properly conceded that some attention be paid to the Labor Question. Such a conclusion is based upon a twofold consideration: 1st because modern economists have placed labor as a commodity alongside of the other products of the industry. 2nd because the common law, together with the early statutes, give us a clear idea of the conception of the law in regard to monopolies as shown by the Law of Conspiracies in Restraint of trade. As regards the merits of the first of these reasons, an acceptance of the well-recognized view of the economists will be sufficient. The second consideration brings us not only to an appreciation of the then existing conditions of society, but may furnish us with some information from which there may be deduced legal principles, that will serve as a precedence to guide us in our study of the present difficulties. Industrial undertakings were as yet in their infancy and society needed very little protection against the manufacturer. As far as he was concerned we find the prototype of the measures that have lately been agitated and advised in the few meager statutes against engrossing forestalling etc., together with the crude conception of contracts in Restraint of Trade. Labor as a commodity was well developed and it was as a protection against the artisan that a consideration of public good led to the laws of Conspiracies in Restraint of Trade. Just so to-day, public welfare demands a powerful instrument to ward off the encroachments of the capitalist and to regulate his influence upon society. Based upon a common consideration of public good, this similarity of' purpose will likely lead us to some principle mutually applicable.
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