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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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The Progressives’ Deadly Embrace of Cartels

The Progressives’ Deadly Embrace of Cartels

A Close Look at Labor and Agricultural Markets, 1890–1940

(p.339) 15 The Progressives’ Deadly Embrace of Cartels
The Progressives' Century

Richard A. Epstein

Yale University Press

This chapter traces the comparative logic of the traditional classical liberal and the Progressive approaches to problems of industry concentration, with special reference to agriculture and labor. Part 1 addresses the question of how the Old Court conservatives—the targets of the Progressive movement—addressed the unified treatment of industrial and labor combinations that acted in restraint of trade, and it defends their analytical approach. Part 2 switches focus to address the institutional challenges and resource misallocations that took place once the Clayton Act irretrievably split the regulation of business from the regulation of labor and agriculture. It covers the economic effects of cartel arrangements as well as evaluates why the electoral systems set up in labor and agricultural markets sparked political success of Progressive politicians. These politicians used those devices to consolidate political support, especially in the 1930s, by the active promotion, organization, and support of these cartel arrangements.

Keywords:   Progressive era, Progressives, industry concentration, conservatives, Clayton Act, labor, agriculture, cartel arrangtements

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