chapter  6
26 Pages

Government and Free Enterprise: Small Business, Big Business, and Subsidies

Small business has been extolled for its virtues year after year and is presented to the citizenry of this nation as embodying one of its highest ideals. With such corporate giants as General Motors Corporation and American Telegraph and Telephone Company in mind, how is the phenomenon of small business to be explained? The era of industrial capitalism got under way after the Civil War and developed with increasing vigor and momentum. The role of the small entrepreneur declined as huge corporations emerged and as great trusts came into being. The number of small businesses did not decline between 1870 and 1910; as a matter of fact, they increased in absolute numbers, but declined greatly in relative importance in such matters as number of people gainfully employed, and in power to affect the growth and conduct of industry.