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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

102             THE COMPANIES ACTS

go too far ahead of public education and public

This is the real solution of this problem-
publicity, the education of the public, and a higher
ideal among financiers. As long as the public likes
to speculate and is greedy and ignorant enough to
be taken in by the wiles of the fraudulent promoter,
attempts by legislation to check this gentleman's
enterprise will be defeated by his ingenuity and the
public's eagerness to be gulled. The ignorance of
the public on the subject of its investments is
abysmal, as anybody knows who is brought into
' practical touch with it. Just as the cure for the
production of rotten and fraudulent patent medicines
thrust down the public's throat by assiduous adver-
tising is the education of the public concerning the
things of its stomach, so the real cure for financial
swindles is the education of the public concerning
money matters, and its recognition of the fact that
it is impossible to make a fortune in the City without
running risks which involve the possible, not to say
probable, loss of ail the money with which the
speculator starts. When once the public has learnt
to distinguish between a speculation and an invest-
ment, and has also learnt honesty enough to be able
to know whether it wants to speculate or invest, it
will have gone much further towards checking the
activity of the fraudulent promoter than any measure
that can be recommended by the most respectable
and industrious of committees. At the same time,
it must be recognised by those responsible for our
finance, that it is their business, and their interest,