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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

OPENINGS  FOR  THE REFORMER     101

earn as much as he can and save as much as he can
so that the country's capital fund can be increased;
so that industry, which will have many difficult
problems to face when the war is over, shall be as
far as possible relieved from any difficulty of finding
all the capital that it needs. To produce these
results it is highly necessary to increase the confi-
dence of the public in the machinery of the Stock
Exchange, in company promotion and all financial
issues. Any one who sincerely believes that these
results can be produced by tightening up the Com-
panies Acts is not only entitled but bound to press
as hard as he can for the securing of this object.
But is this the right way to do it ? There is much
to be said at first sight for making more strict the
regulations under which prospectuses have, to be
issued under the Companies Acts, demanding a
franker statement of the profits in the past, a fuller
statement concerning the prices paid to vendors,
and the prices paid by vendors to sub-vendors, and
so forth. Any one who sits down with a pre-war
industrial prospectus in his hand can find many
openings for the hand of the reformer. The accounts
published by public companies might also be made
fuller and more informing with advantage. But
even if these obviously beneficial reforms were
carried out, there would always be danger of their
evasion. They might tend to the placing of securities
by hole-and-corner methods without the issue of
prospectuses at all, and to all the endless devices
for dodging the law which are so readily provided
as soon as any attempt is made by legislation to

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