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In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition 1918-1938 by Butler Shaffer Review

Updated on July 12, 2011

The Good

· Full Biography, Notes, and Index

· Introduction to chaos theory

· Introduction to free enterprise economic mechanisms

· An actual account of the turn of the century efforts of business and politicians

· Names, Names

The Bad

· Smaller print


In Restraint of trade is one of those books that contains a vast amount of information and while not all if it may be interesting or exiting it is none the less one of those need to know information books. This kind of information not life changing but it will alter your perceptions of how and why things are happening today by extrapolating and disseminating from the events of the turn of the last century.

The book covers an how and why corporations and politicians achieved their anti competitive goals throughout the years. Starting off with an introduction which contains valuable insights into economic principles, the principles of chaos theory and the move from individualism to collectivism, the book proceeds to cover Trade Associations, Codes of Ethics, the mergers of business and politics to control competition, and then goes into the new deal age and the ramifications after the effect. The book also covers what some of the more prominent industries were doing, including steel, retail and textiles.

An interesting point shown in the book is the use of creative language of the businessman, how they would use terms like “destructive competition” and “economic waste” along with “conservation”. While these concepts sound good the real meaning behind all of them was not the betterment of the economy, or the conservation of resources, nor was it the betterment of the customer, of whom they had little regards for, but instead was all about securing their market position and protecting themselves from competition.

The author does a great job debunking many of the popular indoctrination of how a free market will only lead to monopolies, and poses dangers to the public.

There are few books out there that will change a lot of how you think and show you actual truths and that is exactly what Butler Shaffer did in “In Restraint of Trade”. This is one of those books that may bore you at times and excite you at other but is one of those titles that must be read to have a clear picture of what is going on.

I recommend this tome to any truther out there. This is a title that is a must read, that will show that many theories are just absurd when in the true light of events that were transpiring. This book will demonstrate how businesses became the cartels they are today and their ideology. Rarely will you be given a better look into their ideology and mechanisms that drive their actions.

To everyone else this is a must read. The information is just simply too valuable to ignore or pass by.


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