Crushing the Little Man

“The people of this country are being very subtly dealt with. You know, of course, that, unless our Commerce Commissions are absolutely sleepless, you can get rebates without calling them such at all. The most complicated study I know of is the classification of freight by the railway company. If I wanted to make a special rate on a special thing, all I should have to do is to put it in a special class in the freight classification, and the trick is done. And when you reflect that the twenty-four men who control the United States Steel Corporation, for example, are either presidents or vice-presidents or directors in 55 per cent of the railways of the United States, reckoning by the valuation of those railroads and the amount of their stock and bonds, you know just how close the whole thing is knitted together in our industrial system, and how great the temptation is. These twenty-four gentlemen administer that corporation as if it belonged to them. The amazing thing to me is that the people of the United States have not seen that the administration of a great business like that is not a private affair; it is a public affair.

“I have been told by a great many men that the idea I have, that by restoring competition you can restore industrial freedom, is based upon a failure to observe the actual happenings of the last decades in this country; because, they say, it is just free competition that has made it possible for the big to crush the little.

“I reply, it is not free competition that has done that; it is illicit competition. It is competition of the kind that the law ought to stop, and can stop,—this crushing of the little man.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 8/Monopoly, or Opportunity?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 176-177. Print.

This entry was posted in Economy, Money In Politics, Bookmark the permalink.