Railroads and Their Relations to the Public

Railroads and Their Relations to the Public

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Excerpt from Railroads and Their Relations to the Public: A Colloquy Between a Farmer, a Government Official and a Railroad Superintendent

In presenting this-plain and short discussion to the public, it is just to say that it docs not pretend to be an exhaustive investigation of the subject of which it treats. A volume as large as "The Wealth of Nations" might be written, and then only a portion of the ground covered concerning railroads and their relations to modem civilization. This pamphlet is designed to suggest thinking upon these vast problems, rather than to demonstrate the method of their true solution.

The idea of presenting it in a colloquial form was suggested to me by conversations which I have overheard and sometimes taken part in, at various times within the past few months; and as the theme is one not only interesting to all thinking persons, but of vast importance to every one, I have ventured to try my unaccustomed hand. I have endeavored to present the different questions from the stand-point of both the consumer and the producer - whose interests arc, in a certain concrete sense, always antagonistic. That is to say. the consumer always wants low prices and the producer high prices.

In my judgment, railroads are as much subject to the laws of trade as other commercial enterprises or industries. Others than myself must determine whether in this colloquy that idea has been elucidated.

Men of position and influence have taken the other side and declared railroads exempt from the law of competition. And this opinion begot the recent Granger (so-called) legislation in the West, even though the opinion was not formulated and directly avowed.

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