American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the 'New Competition,' 1890–1940

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 11, 2018 - BUSINESS & ECONOMICS - 376 pages
Rather than viewing the history of American capitalism as the unassailable ascent of large-scale corporations and free competition, American Fair Trade argues that trade associations of independent proprietors lobbied and litigated to reshape competition policy to their benefit. At the turn of the twentieth century, this widespread fair trade movement borrowed from progressive law and economics, demonstrating a persistent concern with market fairness - not only fair prices for consumers but also fair competition among businesses. Proponents of fair trade collaborated with regulators to create codes of fair competition and influenced the administrative state's public-private approach to market regulation. New Deal partnerships in planning borrowed from those efforts to manage competitive markets, yet ultimately discredited the fair trade model by mandating economy-wide trade rules that sharply reduced competition. Laura Phillips Sawyer analyzes how these efforts to reconcile the American tradition of a well-regulated society with the legacy of Gilded Age of laissez-faire capitalism produced the modern American regulatory state.
 

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Contents

American Competition Trade Associations
1
Contracts and Competition in an Era of Economic
24
Company
36
Competitive Federalism
53
The Sherman Antitrust
64
Defining Fair Competition
135
Herbert Hoover
149
Constitutional Federalism
196
Between
237
Institutional Legacies
289
of Associational Corporatism
297
Varieties of Competition and Corporatism
309
Bibliography
319
Case Index
353
Subject Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Laura Phillips Sawyer is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, Massachusetts, where she teaches in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit. Her work has appeared in Business History Review, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and Capital Gains.