Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

400                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
body in the politics of a country may be very corrupting,
and if not, it will often seek for a control over legislation
which ought never to belong to managers of pecuniary cor-
porations. Thus, when their business is successful and a
charter is asked of the legislature for a new road which may 
take away from an old one its business, the managers of the
latter oppose it with all their might, and parties are formed
sometimes with this object principally in view. The cure for
all this has been sought in a general railroad law, allowing
capitalists to combine to construct new roads, not indeed in
the near vicinity of the other, for that would be wanton
injury and would mean only that that the new company was
to be bought off, but in the same general direction between
two great depots of trade. Here, again, there is need of
watchfulness; for the companies, without question, will not
long run rival lines but will make some compromise either
against the interests of the community or on a fair basis.
And at this point a new difficulty arises, owing to the fatal
ease with which new enterprises are started and the jealousy
with which producers of heavy articles accuse the roads of
making extravagant charges for freight. The companies to
a considerable extent have a very small amount of shares,
and being unknown, as well as engaged in an enterprise at-
tended with risk, they borrow at large rates of interest, pay
great sums to brokers to procure money for them, pay con-
tractors in bonds at a great discount, and when the road is
ready have an interest which they can with difficulty meet.
The road may have cost twice as much as it would have done
with proper management, and the double rate of interest must
come chiefly out of the freight on produce. The farmers com-
plain ; laws are made at their suggestion in regard to cost of
freight and other things, which if extended to other branches
of business would involve them in ruin. Thus the misconduct
of roads and the folly of legislators tend to produce a condition
of things most alarming, if not ruinous, for all business interests;
the only good resultbeing that where such things are allowed,
no more money can be borrowed for a long time to come.