STEEL: What Is Competition?

To wind up its three-month investigation of steel-pricing policies, the Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee last week put on the stand former Treasury Secretary George M. Humphrey, now chairman of National Steel Corp., the country's sixth largest steelmaker. Subcommittee Chairman Estes Kefauver had a thorny question waiting: Since National Steel is operating at 80% capacity v. 98% early in the year, could it not melt customer resistance, push up the operating rates and still maintain profits by cutting prices? Answered Humphrey: "That is what you think. I do not think so."

Yet such a drop, persisted Kefauver, "would give the...

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