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Daniels on Antitrust

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Reversing Course
American Attitudes about Monopolies, 1607-1890

by Eric Daniels

Daniels's essay is contained in the book The Abolition of Antitrust, edited by Gary Hull.

Buy in association with Amazon: The Abolition of Antitrust

A great second essay to add is Daniels's "Antitrust with a Vengeance: The Obama Administration's Anti-Business Cudgel," published by The Objective Standard (Winter 2009-2010, Vol. 4, No. 4)

Daniels explains how the meaning of the term "monopoly" originally meant the political granting of exclusive privilege but came to be misapplied to free market organizations. In the second essay, Daniels briefly explains how the Obama administration expanded antitrust enforcement.

These two essays work well for a single meeting. Suggested review questions follow.

Review Questions for Daniels

Reversing Course

1. What was the general change in federal economic policy from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s? (Pages 63, 65-66)

2. What was the most common understanding of "monopoly," before and after 1890? (Page 64)

3. What were the English origins of monopolies? (Page 67)

4. What was the nature of the English revolt against monopolies? (Pages 67-68)

5. What was the significance of the English Case of Monopolies and subsequent Parliamentary action? (Pages 68-69)

6. What was the colonists' view of monopolies? (Pages 69-70)

7. What was the fundamental ideological conflict that divided the English Parliament and the colonists? (Pages 70-71)

8. What was the position of state constitutions on monopolies? (Page 71)

9. According to Daniels, what is the difference between American patent law and the establishment of coercive monopolies? (Pages 71-72)

10. In what ways was the Constitutional Convention friendly toward monopolies? What were the concerns about monopolies raised in that debate? (Page 73)

11. In what ways, and on what grounds, did Congress empower monopolies? (Page 74)

12. How did Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, and Joseph Story defend monopolies? How did their arguments lead from protecting coercive monopolies to breaking up large free-market businesses? (Pages 75-76)

13. How did free enterprise challenge coercive monopolies? (Page 76)

14. How did the fight over the steamship monopoly play out? What was the impact of the 1824 Supreme Court ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden? (Pages 77-78)

15. What were the arguments that continued to be made in favor of monopolies in the 1800s? (Pages 78-79)

16. What was the Charles River Bridge case, and what was the significance of the arguments made in that case? (Pages 79-83)

17. In what ways did Andrew Jackson restrict coercive monopolies? (Page 83)

18. How did judicial definitions of monopoly change after the Civil War? (Page 84)

19. What were the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873, how were they decided, and what was the impact of the ruling? (Pages 84-85)

20. What were the circumstances of the case of Munn v. Illinois, and what was the impact of the case's legal resolution on property rights? (Pages 86-87)

21. What was the nature and impact of Henry Demarest Lloyd's works on monopoly in the 1880s? (Pages 88-89)

22. What arguments were presented in favor of the Sherman Antitrust Act? (Page 89)

23. What is Daniels's critique of the "public good" as a standard of law? (Page 90)

Antitrust with a Vengeance

24. Why did C. T. Dodd and John D. Rockefeller create a trust in the late 1800s? (Page 22)

25. What were the cultural and political conditions that led to the Sherman Antitrust Act? (Page 22)

26. In what ways are the antitrust laws nonobjective? (Page 23)

27. Why do producers need a stable legal environment, and how does antitrust legislation undercut this? (Pages 23-24)

28. How has antitrust legislation brought business under federal control? (Page 24)

29. How did antitrust enforcement change (and how did it remain the same) from the Bush to the Obama administrations? (Pages 21, 24-25)

30. How have other federal economic controls undermined free-market competition? (Page 25)

31. What is Daniels's critique of Steve Forbes and L. Gordon Crovitz, who also oppose stepped-up antitrust enforcement? (Pages 26-27)

32. What does Daniels see as the proper role of government with respect to business organization and operation? Is he right? (Page 27)


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