[Report of the Industrial Commission, 1900. Volume I, pages 569-570.]

Q. Now, the general result then is this: By virtue of your greater power you are enabled to secure prices that on the whole could be considered steadily somewhat above competitive rates?

A. Well, I hope so. I think we have better merchandising facilities, better marketing facilities, better distributing facilities, and better talent than a competitor can have.

Q. I am not asking with reference to your power of making profits, but it is with reference to getting the prices from the consumer.

A. Prices are what make the profit. If we had a better average price, we could get a better profit.

Q. You think, generally speaking, that you get prices for oil slightly above competitive prices?

A. Well, I should think so; I could not answer — that is a very general question, and very difficult to answer. I could not answer that specifically. I hope that we do.

Q. Of course, in this investigation, we are seeing if we can get some general principles on which legislation might be based, and these questions are to bring out, if we can, the power that so great an organisation has in fixing prices. Would you say, then, that in the case of an organisation that controls perhaps eighty per cent. of the markets of the country, there is a monopolistic element that enters in which enables them to hold prices above the regular rate? Is there a monopolistic power that comes merely from the power of capital itself?

A. Undoubtedly, there is an ability, and when that ability, as I have said, is unwisely used, it is sure to bring its own defeat.

Q. If that ability goes to get an exorbitant price, of course it will invite competition, but when that ability is kept within modest limits, would you still say that it was in the power of such an organisation to get the benefit of the monopolistic power that comes merely from the power of capital itself?

A. Well, I should say that that would be a very restricted power, a very restricted limit. The competitors in this country are very active.

Q. What?

A. The competitors are very active; they are alert at all points with their small offerings in the hope to find just such a condition as you describe.

Q. Certainly.

A. But as I say, as business is and as it has been for many years, we could not have that ability to any considerable extent as merchants.

Q. If the ability were operative only to a slight extent, would it still be enough, do you think, to make a difference between what we may call a moderate dividend, say 6 or 7 per cent., and a pretty high dividend of between 15 and 20 per cent.?

A. Well, that involves so nice a question that I could hardly undertake to answer it; but generally as to the effect on the community, I should say——

Q. Generally on the prices in the United States?

A. I should say that the lessened cost incident to doing business in a large volume would more than compensate the consumer for any ability in getting higher prices.

Q. Then that leads to this point, whether the large capital does itself give an organisation the power to get a somewhat higher price than it could in the market provided the competitors were substantially equal in power?

A. Oh, it may be so, but that is a difficult question to answer.

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