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MAY 4, 1921
The Announcement of the Prize Winners in
The Outlook's Second
Prize Contest is on
so as to eliminate undesirable combinations.
Protection of the farmers by extending Federal assistance in giving more adequate and timely information concerning market conditions and in affording better market and storage facilities for the conservation of perishable products.
We note the absence of any reference to the tariff as a panacea for all ills, which is welcome; but we think it strange that no emphasis is laid upon the chief of all the causes for the high cost of living-inflation.
WHY ARE PRICES STILL
To most of us, at any time, the prin-
living. Most of us, therefore, will take particular interest in reading the just published reports of the Federal Trade Commission and of the Department of Labor concerning this matter.
From these reports we note that the retail cost of food and other necessities has not declined as much as has the wholesale price. For instance, comparing wholesale prices with those of a year ago, we find that food has declined 39 per cent, but the percentage decrease in the retail prices on food was 22 per cent. Thus retail prices have not come down in proper ratio to the decrease in the wholesale prices of raw materials.
With regard to other necessities, we find that clothing has decreased 46 per cent and farm products nearly 48 per cent. On the other hand, fuel and lighting materials are about 8 per cent higher than they were a year ago.
The causes of the high cost of living, according to the Federal Trade Commission, are unfair methods of competition; important elements of transportation and credit; and especially the excessive price of coal, which also vitally affects the cost of other commodities, to say nothing of the effect upon the health and comfort of the people; moreover, the existence of typical corporate monopolies; open-price associations, tending to maintain unduly high prices; interference with the channels of trade by distributer and trade associations; and, finally, conditions with respect to foreign combinations in the international markets.
The Commission suggests the following remedies:
Legislation to meet judicial objections to the Commission's authority to continue its efforts in obtaining and publishing information respecting the ownership, production, distributing, cost, sales, and profits in the basic industries.
Prosecutions under the Anti-Trust Laws with a view to strengthen them to meet present conditions.
Encouragement of co-operative associations of agricultural producers and of co-operative organizations of consumers.
Legislation to eliminate unnecessary reconsignments and brokerage operations, including "gambling in futures."
A conference of official representatives of the trading nations to consider the question of clearing the channels of international commerce
molds our economic destiny; that it has the power to adjust or to misadjust relative prices in a manner to stimulate or to suppress industrial activity; that this "focal capitalist group" has deliberately maintained high prices of steel, cotton, cement, and other basic materials;" that “the railways, financed by the same interests, have refused to place orders for plant maintenance, or even the orders necessary to prevent plant and equipment deterioration;" finally, that the greater factors in American industry "are all closely bound together by intercapitalist relations and interlocking directorates coming to focus in the house of Morgan." While the railways are pleading poverty, the banks, we read, “are making unprecedented profits and declaring unprecedented dividends, and the same applies to steel, coal, and railway equipment concerns." Finally, the “capital combine,” in preparing to precipitate unemployment, adopted, it is alleged, the policy that the railways "should do it first."
With regard to these statements, The Outlook wrote to the dozen concerns in Mr. Lauck's list. The replies brought were, as might have been expected, denials of the allegations that a combination existed to deflate industry. For instance, Mr. Alvin W. Krech, President of the Equitable Trust Company, says:
The notion that there may exist in this country a league of banking interests to break down the industrial life of the Nation is too silly to discuss, and therefore unnecessary to deny. So far as I know, the large banking interests of the country, and particularly my own company, are doing their utmost in a very difficult situation to maintain and support the Nation's activity. If a denial of the ridiculous charges said to be made ... is necessary, you may make it as emphatic as the English language can frame it. ... The charge probably developed from the loose talk originating with Senator La Follette.
MR. LAUCK'S CHARGES
CCORDING to the newspapers, Mr. W.
Jett Lauck, the "economist” for the railway labor unions, has charged that a "capital combine” has inaugurated a policy of Nation-wide shut-downs. Mr. Lauck, so it is reported, named about one hundred men who, through interlocking directorships, have centered in a dozen institutions the control of our wealth in basic raw materials and in railways. He is quoted as follows: "This interrelated capital group deliberately deflated the farms and then undertook, by precipitating industrial stagnation, to deflate labor. The dozen financial institutions—all of them New York institu. tions- -are:
"The Guaranty Trust Company.
Another President, Mr. Charles H. Sabin, of the Guaranty Trust Company, said:
So far as the Guaranty Trust Company is concerned, the statement reported ... is absolutely and unqualifiedly false. Neither I nor any of my associates ever heard of such an alleged combination. Mr. Lauck's statement that New York banks have combined to cause the spread of unemployment is also utterly false. .
Any observer of the general economic situation must be aware that the existing industrial depression
Mr. Lauck's summary of the situation, according to the newspaper reports, was to. the effect that this “capital combine"
is due to post-war, world-wide con- and wool trusts; that the amount of the Government has entered into in many ditions, and that if capital went on import taxes will be added to the price years. a "strike" against society it would
the consumer pays—according to the With the Colombian Treaty the Govbe striking against itself. ... Capital, which is composed of the savings of
Democratic minority, some $2,000,000,000 ernment hopes to buy the unpurchasall classes, would have more to lose would thus be added to the cost of liv- able commodity of good will. There than would labor. ..
ing; and finally that, if we want to help are Senators, too, who hope to secure No institutions or organizations in
Europe to settle her debts to us, we must from the payment of this money certain this country have struggled harder against difficulties to preserve the
be prepared to buy from her; and, as commercial advantages for America financial, industrial, and commercial Europe can pay only in goods, we can- which are unspecified in the treaty. We stability of the country throughout not be paid unless we welcome the com- are paying twenty-five million dollars in this period of world-wide reaction and economic readjustment than have the
modities which we need and which Eu- the hope that the Government to which banking institutions of New York. ...
rope is prepared to send to us; and it is paid may endure long enough to de The burden of the situation has fallen therefore we should avoid any possible liver goods which it has not promised far more heavily upon capital than display of sectional or National selfish- to deliver. As a guaranty of the fulfillupon labor. The values of securities
ness. and commodities have been deflated
ment of this lively expectation of favors ... far more than have wages.
The Fordney Tariff is frankly experi. to come we are relying upon the faith Mr. Lauck, it would appear, has mental and temporary. It has the merit of a Government which has proved faith
less in the past. The chance is one charged the financial interests with
which would hardly interest even a modbiting off their nose to spite their face-
erately cautious gambler. a surgical operation which they are not in the habit of performing.
BASEBALL PUT ON TRIAL IS THIS MAKESHIFT
He opening of the professional baseLEGISLATION ?
ball season has shown by the crowded THE House of Representatives has
grand stands and the full-page newsparepassed the Fordney Emergency
per reports that the American lovers of Tariff Bill. All tariff bills are given the
the game (rooters and fans, in the lanname of the Chairman of the Ways and
guage of the bleachers) have not lost Means Committee in the House of Rep
their interest because of the scandals resentatives—as, for instance, the Ding.
and crookedness of last year. Baseball ley Tariff, the Payne Tariff, and now the
has been given a chance to establish Fordney Tariff.
itself in public confidence as clean sport. From the quick and emphatic Republi.
"In a very real sense,” says the New can vote which the Emergency Tariff
York “Tribune," "baseball is starting Bill received in the House one might ex
fresh, with a new lease of life and a repect that it would go through the Senate International
vival of good will and old-time zest and with proportionate speed. The tender
JUDGE LANDIS OPENS THE BASEBALL applause." there, however, to pass makeshift meas
All the more, therefore, serious reures is not as great as it is in the House.
sponsibility rests on managers and on Doubtless most of the proponents of of recognizing the claims of one great
Judge Landis, now the supreme arbithe measure believe that the addition of body of producers who have been gen
trator in baseball law and ethics. import duties on agricultural products erally overlooked in protective tariff
baseball is to remain truly the National will check the importation of those prod- legislation, and who, in the interest of
game, it must not be allowed to be used ucts at a time when their prices have
the whole country, should not be ignored. by gambling syndicates and bribe-givers. been declining rapidly; that an emer
At the opening of the season Judge gency law, operating three months (the OIL BEFORE HONOR—AND NO Landis issued statement to the period provided for by the present bill), ASSURANCE OF THE OIL
players. He told them frankly that will help the farmer by relieving the HE Senate, after a bitter debate, every player who makes an error in a
game or who fails to play up to the the general situation. Certainly no April 20 by a vote of 69 to 19. The standard expected of him will fall under group was harder hit by the recent Senators who voted against the treaty suspicion. There are charges even now sharp decline in wholesale foodstuffs included 15 Republicans and 4 Demo- circulating that baseball players are prices than that of the farmers. The crats. The Republican Senators were planning to make money out of their Fordney Tariff, moreover, provides Borah, Capper, Johnson, Jones of Wash- own misplays. Hugh S. Fullerton in the against the practice of "dumping”—that ington, Kellogg, Kenyon, La Follette, New York "Evening Mail" recounts is, selling foreign goods cheaper than Lenroot, McNary, Nelson, Norbeck, Nor- some of these charges. One, for inthey are sold in the country of their ris, Poindexter, Townsend, and Wads- stance, is that the team to win this origin, and prevents scaling of present worth. The Democrats were Senators year's pennant is already decided upon. tariff duties by valuations made in the Dial, Reed, Simmons, and Watson of Another is that a pitcher is to get money depreciated currencies of Europe. Georgia. Senator Cummins, Republican, for home runs made off his pitching.
The opponents of the bill, on the other and Senator Tramwell, a Democrat, Certain of these stories Mr. Fullerton hand, who are strong in the Senate, were paired against the treaty.
has himself disproved. The chances are believe that it has been drawn for its We publish these names as a roll of that none of them are true at all. The political rather than for its economic honor.
fact that they are circulating, however, effect; that it will benefit chiefly the This list of names may also be said to is an indication of the state of mind of speculators who are holding large quan- constitute not only a roll of honor, but a the people who patronize ball games. tities of farming products which they roll of intelligence, for these Senators There is a strong feeling that the exbought before the decline in prices; that were the only ones who voted against posures of last year were not followed it is in the interest of the sugar, meat, the poorest bargain which the American by sufficiently severe and drastic punish
pinch, and, indeed, will help to steady Tpasseante Colombianit tereale baten
ment. A few members of the Chicago White Sox who were dismissed for their offenses last year have attempted to capi. talize the scandal by forming a freelance club (called in derision the Black Sox) to travel about and give exhibition games; but their enterprise has not met with any marked public favor or patronage. Perhaps the exposure will insure a clean game this summer; if it does not, the only hope for the restoration of baseball to its pre-eminence as an honestly fought game, which attracts its aggregate attendance of millions of onlookers who want to see athletic skill and honorable contest for the two pennants and the final World's Championship, lies in getting at "the men higher up" who have besmirched baseball for sordid greed.
There are sixteen clubs in the two major leagues. There are thousands of local clubs-school or amateur or just boys. Tens of thousands of games are played every fine holiday all over the country. Perhaps we think too much of professional baseball and too little of the game as it is played for fun and exercise by our boys and young men. In the larger sense baseball is with us to stay.
which, if immediately paid, would amount to about $12,000,000,000; this with interest over forty-two years would amount to about $49,000,000,000. Thus Germany and the Entente Allies would seem to be approaching a common agreement.
Germany's promise to pay, however, is not equivalent to payment. In the first place, there is the demand for an immediate payment on May 1 for part of the reparations; this probably, however, will be extended by some days of grace. In the second place, some method must be devised by which the ultimate payment will be assured, for German prom
tiations as far as possible and avoiding thus a definite committal until it can no longer be avoided.
Germany is virtually in the position of a bankrupt concern whose pledges are not to be trusted. Of course Germany cannot pay in gold, and the nations would not be well served if they were paid in gold. What Germany can pay must be chiefly in labor and in commodi. ties. The problem is to secure such pay. ment without flooding the markets of the world with German goods or admitting Germany in unequal competition with the labor of her neighbors. It seems as if the only way out were by establishing something which would correspond in commercial life to a receivership. It may be that the occupation of the entire Ruhr district, if it is undertaken, will be in the nature of a partial receivership.
1921. mas long been fixed asta
BRINGING GERMANY TO TERMS
AY 1, 1921, has long been fixed as a
definite and very important date in the settlement of the war. According to the Treaty of Versailles, the amount of damage which Germany did to the civilian'population of the Allied and As- International sociated Powers and to their property
GENERAL DEGOUTTE was to be determined by a Reparation
With a notable record in the late war, this dis
tinguished French officer is now emphasizing his Commission, whose findings were to be service to his country by his administration of concluded and notified to the German
that part of the Ruhr region taken from Ger
many and occupied by France. Should the enGovernment on before that date. tire region be so occupied, General Degoutte Pending the full determination of the
would seem to be the most appropriate choice
as Military Governor claims of the Entente Powers, Germany was to pay “during 1919, 1920, and the ises have not been equivalent to perfirst four months of 1921, the equivalent formances. of 20,000,000,000 gold marks,” which is By the time this issue of The Outlook about $5,000,000,000. This payment was reaches its readers the Entente Allies to be made in "gold, commodities, ships, may have agreed upon definite measures securities, or otherwise." At a confer- to enforce their demands. Great Britence in London in January the Entente ain has virtually agreed with France Allies presented to Germany a bill of that if something definite is not forth226,000,000,000 gold marks, which is coming French troops may march about $55,500,000,000, plus a 12 per cent farther into the German industrial disexport tax-all to be paid within a period trict known as the Ruhr. of forty-two years.
On March 1 Ger- The present situation is very unstable. many made a counter-proposal of a sum It is quite uncertain what may happen which was totally unsatisfactory.
from day to day. The German offer has The Germans made an appeal for not been officially divulged. All that is mediation to President Harding, which publicly known as we write is that Gerwas courteously, but definitely, refused many has made an offer; the amount of in a note issued by Mr. Hughes, Secre- 200,000,000,000 gold marks (as against tary of State. Now, at the last minute, the Entente demand of 226,000,000,000 under the menace of invasion if the gold marks) has been stated, coupled terms of the Treaty are not complied with a suggestion for mediation. with, the German Government has, it is Germany's course has been evidently reported, increased its offer to a sum with the object of prolonging the nego
THE PLEDGE TO SOUTH AMERICA EFORE a notable gathering of repre
sentatives of North and South America President Harding delivered an address at the unveiling of the statue of Simon Bolivar in New York City on April 19. A picture of this statue, a gift of the Government of Venezuela, was published in last week's Outlook. Perhaps the most significant portion of President Harding's address is contained in his reference to the Monroe Doctrine. President Harding said:
The doctrine proclaimed under Monroe, which ever since has been jealously guarded as a fundamental principle of our own Republic, maintained that these continents should not again be regarded as fields for the colonial enterprises of Old World powers. There have been times when the meaning of Monroeism was misunderstood by some, perverted by others, and made the subject of distorting propaganda by those who saw in it an obstacle to the realization of their own ambitions. Some have sought to make our adhesion to this doctrine a justification for prejudice against these United States. They have falsely charged that we have sought to hold the nations of the Old World at arm's length, in order that we might monopolize the privilege of exploiting them ourselves. Others have protested that the doctrine would never be enforced if to enforce it would involve us in actual hostilities.
The history of the generations since that doctrine was proclaimed has proved that we never intended it selfishly; that we had no dream of exploitation. On the other side, the history of the last decade certainly must have convinced all the world that we stand willing to fight, if necessary, to protect these continents, these sturdy young democracies from oppression and tyranny.
It is perhaps noč so much the fear of American aggression which has caused South America to look aşkánce at the