CO-OPERATION TO EXPAND TRADE

CO-OPERATION TO EXPAND TRADE

(Written Specially for “Fire and Water Engineering.”)

On the same day last week President Wilson and ex-President Taft gave public utterance to views on the business outlook which are of real interest to business men the country over. In some respects the president and the ex-president spoke along kindred lines, the latter saying legislation affecting trusts has been overdone and the former recommending the revision of some legislation so as to permit of trade expansion. President Wilson’s address was made at the annual convention of the Chamber of Commerce of the United Slates, held at Washington, and dealt largely with the export situation. He urged cooperation between business and the government in framing laws for the benefit of all the people. He suggested that business men devise some way of allowing exporters in the United States to combine to secure common selling agencies and to give long time credits in such a way that these co-operative devices may be open to the use of all. The President expressed the opinion that apparently the anti-trust laws prohibit such combinations now, but that he would favor a change if a method fair to all could be found, and said: “What I would like very much to be shown is a method of co-operation which is not a method of combination; not that the two words are mutually exclusive, but we have come to have a special meaning attached to the word ‘combination.’” He spoke of the work being done by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce in “surveying the world” for the benefit of all business men. Ex-President Taft’s speech was at the City Athletic Club, New York, and his subject was “Signs of the Times,” and in the course of it he said: “The people became aroused when they discovered such things as favoritism and rebates and they dragged the railroads into the courts, where the people won. Now you do not hear of the railroads defying the people any more. The same thing was true of the great industrial corporations. They fought the anti-trust law and wanted to dominate industry. But the people succeessfully opposed them. Both they and the railroads were put under control. Now, however, we are suffering from overcontrol. The momentum of reform has carried the people over the line of safety and restrictive measures have assumed a nagging character.” In the course of a recent interview on business conditions, H. R. Fitzzgerald, of the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills, Danville, Va., said in part: “The business interests of the country have been seriously affected during the past year by adverse legislation and threatened legislation, which, in addition to obstructing actual progress, so disturbed and undermined the confidence of the people that it placed our country in a very poor position to withstand the shock of the European war. Therefore, the demoralization in many lines of industry, following the outbreak of the war, was greater than would otherwise have been. We believe that our country is now confronted with I the brightest opportunity in its history, and if eVery good citizen will stand by his colors and apply himself in a cheerful and optimistic spirit, the signs of activity, which are already beginning to manifest themselves, will soon materialize into a rapid stride forward. I here is no good reason why the year 1915 should not be an active and prosperous one for this country, and we confidently expect it.”

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