chapter  IV
The Historical and Legal Background in the United Kingdom
Pages 11

It is sometimes supposed that the nineteenth century saw a strong and persistent trend towards monopoly. An economic system based on laissez faire and free competition was steadily in retreat, so it is vaguely believed, and monopoly thus extended its sway over an ever-widening area of industry. This belief has even slenderer justification than the notion, criticized in the last chapter, that during the present century there has been a strong and inevitable tendency towards greater concentration. If we are to reach a just opinion in these matters we must first clarify the meaning of laissez faire, which in popular discussion is often identified with free competition.