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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

loo            THE COMPANIES ACTS

admit there have been some black pages in the history
of British company promoting, and that many
swindles have been perpetrated by which the public
has lost its money and dishonest and third-rate
promoters have retired with the spoil. The question
is, however, what is the remedy for this admitted
and glaring evil ? Is it to be found by making the
Companies Laws so strict that no respectable citizen
would venture to become a director owing to the
fear of penal servitude if the company on whose
board he sat did not happen to pay a dividend, and
that no prospectus could be issued except in the case
of a concern which had already stood so severe a
test that its earning capacity was placed beyond
doubt ? It would certainly be possible by legislative
enactment to make any security that was offered as
safe as Consols, and less subject to fluctuation in
value. But when this had been done the effect
would be very much like the effect upon rabbits of
the recent fixing of their price. No more securities
would be offered.

It is certainly extremely important for the future
financial and industrial development of this country
that the machinery of finance and company promotion
should be made as clean as possible. What we want
to do is to make everybody see that a great increase
in output is required, that this great increase in
output can only be brought about if there is a great
increase in the available amount of capital, that
capital can only be brought into being by being
saved, and that it is therefore everybody's business,
both for his own sake and that of the country, to