chapter  42
8 Pages

THE PRICE OF PRODUCTS. V. THE MONOPOLOID INSTITUTIONS

Among monopoloid forms are further to be mentioned the private monopolies, recognized by statute for the sake of the advantages accruing through them to the general, public interest, and which are at the same time restricted by law so as to prevent the abuse of monopoly power. There are two types of these monopolies. One is shown in the patent-right of the inventor; akin to this is the author's copyright and a few other forms. The other type appears in the private single-unit enterprise, regulated by the state. The patent-right is granted to the inventor, in order to bring his technical leadership, his talents and genius into the service of society. By ceding to him the monopolistic utilization of his innovation, the community endeavors to encourage him in introducing inventions. At the same time, however, his monopoly is of limited duration, in order that (ultimately) society may succeed to the unlimited enjoyment of the invention. His invention is the successful outgrowth of a rivalry with others who were experimenting in the same direction as he. Social currents have carried him to his goal. Therefore, after a suitable period of

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grace, his achievement is once more thrown into the arena of free competition. The original grant is made on one condition, that the invention be put into actual use. The regulated private single-unit enterprise, as shown most plainly in the privileged bank of issue or the state-controlled private railroad, takes the place of the administrationmonopoly, wherever good reasons exist for preferring private to public management. It still secures for society the advantage of single-unit operation. The type is closely akin to the administration-monopoly; provided only that, beside the general interest, the acquisitive interest of the private enterprise be protected, a proviso which, when it comes to details, may lead to all manner of straits. Let us point out, for example, the state-guarantee for private railroads and the remaining rules of the concessional right, or the state's share in the profits of private banks of issue. The development of private monopolies, recognized by the state, has surely not reached its end. New types may arise, or the old ones may be transformed. The possibility is not excluded that kartels or trusts, to-day not yet recognized legally or possibly even opposed by law, may perhaps at a future day, when their interests have been brought more nearly into keeping with the interests of society, be legally confirmed and at the same time restrictively regulated. It may then be that one or the other point of view of the two types, here described, will be transferred to these institutions also.