• U.S.

Business: The Chamber

3 minute read

Primitive men hold large meetings for one of three reasons: war, politics or religion. It is only recently that Modern Business Men have taken to holding large meetings. The U. S. Chamber of Commerce, which had its annual convention last week, is only 16 years old. But the reasons that business men hold large meetings are still reasons of war, politics, and ethics substituted for religion.

The theme of the Chamber’s convention, chosen by President Lewis Eugene Pierson, was “Teamwork for Prosperity.” The speakers spun many a variation thereanent, on competition (War), Federal regulation (Politics), commercial integrity (Ethics). Secondary to these considerations were the speeches on economics. The high point of the week came when the Chamber passed a resolution occasioned by the Rockefeller-Stewart controversy in the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana (see p. 38).

Dr. Albert Pirelli of Italy, president of the International Chamber of Commerce, was present. Let the U. S. be careful that its tariff policy does not run counter to its citizens’ healthy habits of foreign investment, said he.

Judge Edwin B. Parker, board chairman of the Chamber, was there. The times, he said, “demand that we consider the disturbing evidences of a business atavism— a throwback of a day of unrestrained individualism; aday of ‘the public be damned.’ ”

President Pierson bade his countrymen watch out for overproduction. The U. S., he said, “must prove that production is its servant and not its master.”

Chairman Owen D. Young of the General Electric board declared that production was not too great, nor consuming power too small, but that “the trouble with the situation is … a maladjustment of our economic and financial machinery which permits wheat to rot on the farms in some places while people are starving in others . . . which keeps warehouses full of goods when millions of people need them.”

After an administration which had been notable for the Chamber’s persistent outspokenness on national legislation. President Pierson declined reelection. To succeed him the Chamber chose William Butterworthof Moline, Ill., president of Deere & Co. (plows). Judge Parker, who expects to be busy this year carrying out the newly-enacted Alien Property bill (War claims), was replaced as board chairman by Joseph Holton Defrees, Chicago lawyer. The four vice presidents are: President Alfred J. Brosseau of Mack Trucks (Manhattan), President Robert R. Ellis of the Hessig-Ellis Drug Co. (Memphis), President Robert Patterson Lamont of American Steel Foundries (Chicago), Vice President Paul Shoup of the Southern Pacific Co. (San Francisco).

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