Essays in the early history of american corporations

Acting under a charter sanctioned by the Dutch government, the Dutch East India Company defeated Portuguese forces and established itself in the Moluccan Islands in order to profit from the European demand for spices. Investors in the VOC had issued paper certificates as proof of share ownership, and were able to trade their shares on the original Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The best-known example, established inwas the East India Company of London.

Essays in the early history of american corporations

Another motive for the mergers was to create large promotional profits for those persons who initiated and managed the merger. In general, the mergers did not result in improved efficiency in producing any commodities since the mergers were "horizontal", that is, they involved companies producing more or less the same products at more or less the same technical efficiency.

Essays in the early history of american corporations

Robert Grosse has written that "monopolistic agreements among pig iron producers were unknown until the depression ofand even these were ineffective. These high costs put a premium on the elimination of competition in the industry; monopolistic agreements gained prominence during the s.

By they led to creation of the U. Steel did not attempt to create a complete monopoly in the industry. It "set prices at a level that would earn profits for its weaker competitors, but not so high as to antagonize customers. One avenue to that goal was the corporation's ownership of the rich iron ores in the Lake Superior district which gave U.

Steel a competitive edge and which it refused to share with any other firm in the industry.

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Another mechanism was the holding of so-called "Gary dinners" duringwhich involved steel industry leaders. A participant in the dinners, named after Elbert H. Gary, chairman of the board of directors of the U. Steel Corporation, noted that the guests were summoned in order to discuss problems arising out of the depression of these years.

Gary was said to stress that industry policy should be based "on a disposition to help one another, instead of trying to get business at the expense of one another and at prices below actual cost. One historian writes that "the Gary dinners were remarkably successful in preventing price cutting. In the s, notes Josef Steindl, the rate began a very long-term drop which was uninterrupted even as late as the s.

Another approach to this same area is to study the rate of output of fixed capital per worker. Referring to the years after the Civil War, Robert Gallman reports that "in the postwar period [until ] the rate does not rise above the rate for The rate of increase of fixed capital output was subject to sharp retardation and this is especially evident for the period after By that time, as just noted, the rate of growth of business capital was being checked.

Indeed, the advance of monopoly led to that checking process by raising profit margins of the larger firms, expanding excess capacity, and thereby restricting investment.

Inby contrast, nearly a hundred industrial corporations had attained that size. In incorporated companies made up only It was particularly through control of the financial system that this class succeeded in establishing its rule. The merger movement consisted not of an assortment of specialists in producing manufactured commodities but of financial experts who commanded either the capital itself or the avenues for gathering the capital.

Thorstein Veblen described the essentials of the system: Five firms owned two-thirds of the assets of all life insurance companies: The last three owned fully one-half the assets of all life insurance companies.Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations; Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations Eighteenth Century Business Corporations in the United States by Joseph Stancliffe Davis.

Vol. 4. Early Philadelphia Its People, Life and Progress by Horace Mather Lippincott. American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library. Full text of "Essays in the earlier history of American corporations".

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Essays in the early history of american corporations

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