By YENA SEO, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Expository)
The Captains of American Industry have been busy addressing various economic issues and crises that have left the American public disengaged and many industries failing to meet productivity goals. Despite the committee’s active work to keep their economic powerhouses afloat and to expand the technological revolution, it has run into various obstacles and offered no clear solution.
Unfortunately for the Captains of American Industry, the United States Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, making industries subject to regulation. Previously, Representative Joseph Gurney Cannon (R-IL) had addressed the industry titans, noting that the bill was in response to public demand that railroad operations be regulated. The Act, which had enthusiastic bipartisan support, also established the Interstate Commerce Commission. The ICC has been tasked with investigating and regulating industries and corporations in order to ensure free trade and the elimination of monopolies.
While the Interstate Commerce Act was passed by Congress to address the railroad industry, a crisis update noted that in the last few months, Congress had edited the bill to strengthen its language. Although most analysts are unsure on the specific causes of the change to the bill’s language, data and public opinion surveys shows that the American general public displayed pro-regulation sentiments and enthusiastic support for a strong bill.
The American public has also shown more approval for federal regulation and a lack of interest in the industries led and maintained by the members of the Captains of American Industry. This lack of investment has resulted in the economic downturn of several industries, which has depressed stocks and alarmed many industry titans.
Thomas Edison noted that one of the reasons for the American public’s lack of interest and investment in these industries is because of a disconnect between the rural towns of America and the flourishing cities on the coasts. Edison expressed interest in connecting the East and West coasts via railroad networks in his “Old New Deal” directive.
“Bridging the divide will allow the American public to have confidence in its industries once again,” Edison said. “I’d like to press forward to invest in railroad networks, power grids and oil fields.”
Other industry leaders advocated for greater education of the American public, noting that one of the reasons for a lack of investment into industry and technology was an educational gap. One directive, “Make America Great Via Education,” emphasized a need for a network of vocational and trade schools across the U.S. that would encourage teaching in engineering, science, chemistry and electricity.
However, none of the directives could gain solid support, and the Captains of American Industry were unable to draft directives that would garner American support and address growing concerns.
Andrew Carnegie waits to speak on educational improvement in the Captains of American Industry.