Postwar Cartels

July 27, 1950

Report Outline
Reemergence of Prewar Cartel Problem
International Cartels and American Law

Reemergence of Prewar Cartel Problem

The Schuman Plan for pooling the coal and steel production of Western Europe, hailed at its announcement in May as a genuine effort to heal French differences with Germany and to promote European economic union, has since aroused fears that the end result may be a new international cartel of unprecedented power. French Foreign Minister Schuman contends that the objectives and the mechanism of his proposed organization are the direct opposite of those displayed by prewar cartels. But the prospect of production and investment planning, price regulation, and wage equalization has suggested to the opponents of monopoly that inefficiency may be protected and that restrictive policies may ultimately replace the declared objectives of the plan.

British reluctance to subordinate commonwealth ties and national economic planning to a supra-national authority seems likely to limit initial membership in the combination to continental producers. Nevertheless, the six countries which opened discussions in Paris in June have reiterated their determination to put the plan into effect.

The United States, while it looks with favor on the Schuman Plan, is attempting in Occupied Germany to break up into independent competitive units the cartels and combinations that dominated German industry before World War II. And at home large American corporations, including General Electric and DuPont, have been brought into court by the Department of Justice on antitrust charges growing out of their alleged participation in international cartels.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies
International Law and Agreements