George Gunton, “The Economic and Social Aspect of Trusts,” 1888

George Gunton was a writer and economist who defended the growth of big business and corporate consolidation at the end of the nineteenth century. Gunton believed that larger aggregations of capital and knowledge enabled efficiencies in production that benefited consumers (through lower prices), workers (through higher wages), and investors (through higher returns).

In Gunton’s essay on “The Economic and Social Aspects of Trusts,” how does he use the Standard Oil Trust and the oil market to defend trusts and big business? Why isn’t he concerned about Standard Oil’s dominance of the oil market?

How do Gunton’s arguments compare to more recent debates about antitrust law and the economic power wielded by Amazon, Microsoft and other corporate giants?


Gunton, George. “The Economic and Social Aspect of Trusts” Political Science Quarterly 3. no. 3 (September 1888): 385-408.

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