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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

They would Maintain Fair Prices

They would Maintain Fair Prices.

And not only would a better class of traders compete with each other, if the long credit system were abolished, but goods would maintain fair prices. This is of course only comparatively speaking, for it is easy to see that shopkeepers could sell goods cheaper, if paid for them in cash, owing to the value of the interest on their money thus saved. But there would be no shoddy traders, and consequently articles of commerce would be sold only at those prices at which traders could realise legitimate profits for themselves. Business men would be cheered by brighter prospects, and at least one circle of the community would thank the legislature for abolishing the baneful system of giving long credits. No tradesman can hope to sell articles at one price, when an opposition store is offering the same goods at ten per cent less money. What is the result? Simply that all prices are cut down absolutely to that level below which it is impossible to do more than cover expenses and scrape a bare margin to allow for losses. If the losses are heavy, then the tradesman's profits are nil. If he is fortunate in collecting all or nearly all his money, then he makes a small profit. So precarious a means of livelihood is driving good men out of business and the merest up-starts are taking their places, much to the discomfort of the purchasing community.