A GROUP OF NATURAL MONOPOLIES
The means of transportation are natural monopolies. A turnpike, a canal, or a railroad from one point to another, if it could run on a mathematical straight line, would be a complete monopoly because there is but one such line. If more and more railroads are built until they form a net-work, they either form a very highly developed form of competition, in which there are complicated factors united under a very intricate combination, or they run over into artificial monopolies. In the former case the legitimate remuneration of the owners of the railroad is sacrificed; in the latter case the tendency is to take away from the community all advantage of the railroads by making the people pay so much for it that they are in effect put back where they would have been if there had been no railroad. Hence the immense complexity of the railroad problem and the mischief of the various rough-and-ready solutions of it which have been offered.
The transmission of intelligence by telegraph is a natural monopoly; the mail and express transportations are included under transportation in general; and all other transmission of intelligence by telegraph or telephone must be a monopoly. The physical difficulties of reduplicating the apparatus within the limits of space where it must be used produce this necessity.
The organization for this purpose which has the most widely extended apparatus, which can reach the greatest number of points, and which is ready to take any