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MONOTHEISM


499


MONOTHEISM


maintain by means of the exorbitantly high prices that it establishes at another place or time, he is deprived of this advantage by unjust means. The unjustly high prices are as truly the means by which the inde- pendent dealer is injured, as the lying reports brought to a would-be benefactor are the means by which his intended beneficiary is deprived of a legacy. This is the stock example used by the moral theologians to illustrate the general principle stated above. When, howe\'er, a business concern eliminates a competitor by lowering prices universally, and keeping them low even after the latter has gone out of business, no injus- tice is done, because no unjust means are employed. Even when a monopolistic concern lowers prices every- where at the same time, and raises them to an unjust level only after its competitors have been driven from the field, the latter would seem to be victims of injus- tice. For, although the unjust prices do not come into existence until after the injury has been accom- plished, they are as certainly the means whereby the injury was done, as though they had been established simultaneously with the ruinously low prices. In both cases the exorbitant prices operate as the moral cause of the act by which the unprofitably low prices are established.

The factor's agreement is exemplified when a mer- chant engages to handle no goods, or no goods of a cer- tain kind, except those manufactured by a monopoly; should the merchant decline to enter into this agree- ment, the monopolistic concern will refuse to sell him any goods at all. If the agreement is established, the result is that the rivals of the monopolistic manufac- turing concern are deprived of the patronage of the merchant through intimidation. It is a species of secondary boycott, inasmuch as the monopoly re- fuses to have business intercourse with the merchant, unless the latter refuses to do business with the inde- pendent manufacturer. It seems sufficiently clear that boycotts of this kind are unreasonable and unjust whenever, as in this instance, there exists no sufficient reason for the intimidation and the refusal of inter- course (see Labour Unions, Moral Aspects op). Indeed, the motive of the monopoly is, as a rule, not merely lacking in rea.sonableness, but positively un- just; for its ultimate aim is not simply to acquire the patronage that now goes to its rivals, but in addition to raise prices to the consumer after its rivals have been eliminated.

Railway favouritism is the most important of all the methods of monopoly. It has in all probability been as effective in creating and maintaining monopolies as all the other methods combined. It appears under many forms, but its essence is found in the fact that the goods dealt in by a monopoly are carried by the railroad at a rate so much below that charged to inde- pendent dealers that the latter must either go out of business or be content with insufficient profits. This practice is undoubtedly immoral: (1) because it is for- bidden by the civil law; (2) because the railroad, as a quasi-public agency, is under obligation to treat all its patrons with the same distributive justice that the state itself would be obliged to accord them if it were the owner of the railroads; (:5) because the lower charges collected from the monopoly imply unjustly high charges extorted from the independent shippers. As a violation of the civil law, niiKvay favouritism is against legal justice; as unequal treatment of different patrons, it is a violation of both di.-^lrihutive and com- mutative justice, precisely as the unequal imposition of taxes violates both these forms of justice. If the rate accorded to the monopoly for carrying its goods is sufficiently high to be just, the higher rate imposed upon its rivals exceeds the limits of justice. If the former rate is so low as to be unremunerative to the railroad, the injustice done to the independent deal- ers is still greater, inasmuch aa they are compelled to bear a part of the charges that should be defrayed by


the monopoly. The favours accorded to the latter are not deducted from the normal revenues and prof- its of the railway company.

As a matter of purely natural justice, a railroad might concede somewhat lower carrying rates to a monopolistic concern because the monopoly ships goods in larger lots. The cost of such transportation is always smaller than when the same volume of goods is carried in separate lots for several different concerns. Nevertheless, even this degree of favouritism is a vio- lation of legal justice, and frequently a violation of charity as regards the smaller shipping concerns. In- asmuch as the practice of railway favouritism to mo- nopolies is seldom confined within these narrow limits, the question raised in this paragraph is not of much practical importance. Again, the railroad might be absolved from the charge of violating natural justice if the lower rates which it extended to the monopoly did not fall below the lowest level {prctium infimum) of justice, while the charges exacted from the indepen- dent shippers did not exceed the highest level (prelium summum) sanctioned by justice. A private enter- prise, such as a mercantile concern, could probably be absolved from the stigma of injustice if it indulged in this practice toward its different customers. But, aa we have seen above, a railway is not a purely private concern. Since it performs a quasi-public function, it would seem to be bound by the same rules of dis- tributive justice that would govern the State, if the latter were operating the business of transportation. The share of the monopoly in the immorality and in- justice connected with railway favouritism consists in the fact that it requests, urges, and sometimes intimi- dates the railway to indulge in the practice. The monopoly is therefore a co-operator. In the language of the moral theologians, it is a mandans, or principal, and likewise a participans, or beneficiary (frequently the only beneficiary) of the injustice done to its rivals through overcharges for transportation.

while monopoly is not necessarily unjust, and while any particular monopoly may be free from unjust practices, experience shows that the power to commit injustice which is included in monopoly cannot be un- reservedly entrusted to the average human being or group of human beings. Consequently, it is the duty of public authority to prevent the existence of un- necessary monopolies, p nd to exercise such supervision over necessary monopolies as to render impossible monopolistic injustice, whether against the indepen- dent business man through unjust methods, or the con- sumer through unjust prices. Many of the moral judgments enunciated in this article will perhaps strike the reailer as lacking in positiveness, inasmuch as they are modified by such phrases as "it would seem, "it is probable, "it is reasonable". Yet no other course was possible. Concerning most of the specific questions discussed in th(! foregoing [lages, there exi.sts no specific teaching by the Cluirch, or even by the unanimous voice of theologiun.s. There are not even well-delined bodies of thcolngical opinion. All that can be done is to draw cunclusicins from, and make specific api)lications of, the niore general principles of justice as found in approved Catholic sources.

Ely. Monopotict and Truals (New York, 1900) ; Ripley. TrusU, Pooh, and Ci>r,,iir,ilimiii (New York, 1905); Reports of U. S.

Indwilruil r , .. . I, IX (Washington, 1903); UnwE, Privi-

leaeamil)>: 1 .„,rira (.New York, 1910); Hum, New

Enci/rtoii>>h' I. irrn.B.v.Trusta; Slater in /rijj/i yAco-

logical (Jun,i. , J.;, , (1); Ryan, ittrf. (July, 1908) ; Loao,

De JuHliUa ./ ./. Jurr ;l,vcm8, 1670); Tanqcerey, De Juslilia (New York, 1UU4); Lehmkubl. Theologia MoralU, I (Freiburg, 1893); Vehmeersch, Quirslionea de Juslilia (BruRca. 1901); Jan.net, Le Capital, la Sptculation et la Finance (Paris, 1892).

John A. Ryan.

Monotheism (from the Greek /iifos "only", and 0c6s "god") is a word coined in comparatively modern times to designate beliefin the one supreme God, the