Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws

February 19, 1947

Report Outline
Economic Concentration in United States
Shifting Course of Antitrust Enforcement
Proposals for Revision of Antitrust Laws
Special Focus

Economic Concentration in United States

Truman on Economic Concentration and Competition

President truman said in his annual message to Congress, Jan. 6, 1947, that the administration, “in an effort to assure full opportunity and free competition to business,” would “vigorously enforce the antitrust laws.” He observed that prewar studies by the Temporary National Economic Committee had shown that “one of the gravest threats to our welfare lay in the increasing concentration of power in the hands of a small number of giant organizations.” And the tendency toward economic concentration had been accelerated during the war. “As a consequence,” the President said, “we now find that, to a greater extent than ever before, whole industries are dominated by one or a few large organizations which can restrict production in the interest of higher profits and thus reduce employment and purchasing power.”

The Economic Report of the President, sent to the Capitol Jan. 8, recommended that Congress review the T. N. E. C. and other studies on economic concentration with a view to strengthening the laws against monopoly. It urged increased appropriations for antitrust enforcement, and suggested that enforcement be supplemented by “affirmative action to enlarge the opportunities for efficient and enterprising small business.”

T. N. E. C. Investigation of Economic Concentration

The T. N. E. C. investigation was conducted from 1938 to 1941 by a legislative-executive commission, with Sen. O'Mahoney (D., Wyo.) as chairman, under a joint resolution of Congress approved June 16, 1938. The investigation fulfilled a request by President Roosevelt for “a thorough study of the concentration of economic power in American industry and the effect of that concentration upon the decline of competition.” In a message to Congress, Apr. 29, 1938, Roosevelt had pointed to the growth in the United States of “a concentration of private power without equal in history” and declared that it was “seriously impairing the economic effectiveness of private enterprise as a way of providing employment for labor and capital and as a way of assuring a more equitable distribution of income and earnings among the people of the nation as a whole.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Antitrust
Jun. 12, 1998  Antitrust Policy
Jul. 07, 1989  Do Antitrust Laws Limit U.S. Competitiveness?
Jan. 15, 1982  Business Mergers and Antitrust
Jan. 31, 1975  Antitrust Action
May 25, 1966  Business Concentration and Antitrust Laws
Feb. 19, 1947  Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws
Dec. 19, 1938  Anti-Trust Enforcement Through Consent Decrees
Nov. 24, 1930  Revision of the Antitrust Laws
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies