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Excerpt from The Arena, Vol. 24: July to December, 1900
Rule were universally obeyed, this doctrine would dissolve and usher in a new humanity and a new world - a heaven upon earth. But to-day individuals and aggregations of individuals constantly act on the principle of buying in the cheapest and selling in the clearest market, and in their hearts recognize no other; and were a general spoliation of the millionaires to'occur to-morrow, and an equal division of their hoards to be made among the masses, the latter would on the day following begin to buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest market - and thus immediately sow the germs of a new concentration of wealth and commerce.
This movement possesses a tragic interest for all engaged in commerce, except the favored few immediately concerned in the process. The first to feel its effects are the smaller dealers men with limited means to pay rent and other expenses that are high in proportion to the volume and profits of the business they transact: men that are unable to take advantage of the discount allowed on purchases for cash and whose exigencies sometimes compel them to give more credit than is warranted by their means. These men are gradually being forced out of business by the larger stores; and that the movement, begin ning at the lowest, will attack in succession every grade in every line of business and attempt to establish itself in their place is becoming daily more evident. The tendency of con centration - another word for monopoly - is to destroy the bus iness of hundreds of thousands of people who are now actively and profitablv engaged in trade, make stepping-stones of them, and rise pyramid-like on their ruins. The pyramid, indeed, is an apt illustration of the movement: its base may be said to represent the entire area of commerce before undue concentra tion began, and the subsequent contracting elevations represent its progressive stages, until at length the apex, which will dominate the whole space, is reared.
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