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MIDWIFE  OR  DOCTOR?           161

immediate success of the promotion. He is, as one of
the greatest of them described himself, a mere mid-
wife, who brings the interesting infant into the world,
pats its little head, says good-bye to it, and leaves
it to take care of itself throughout its troubled
existence. By the American system the promoter
is not a midwife but a doctor who assists at the birth
of the infant, and also watches over its youth and
makes every effort to guide its toddling footsteps in
such a way that it may grow into lusty manhood.
It is not until he has done so that he is enabled, by
the sale of the shares which were given to him at the
beginning, to realise the full profit which he expected.
The profits realised by this method are in many cases
enormous. On the other hand, the amount of work
that is put in to secure them is infinitely greater than
happens in the case of the English midwife pro-
moter ; and if the enterprise is a failure, then the
promoter goes without his profits.

The system, like everything else, is liable to abuse,
if a rascally board of directors, in a hurry to unload
their holding of Common stock on an unsuspecting
public, makes the position and prospects of the
company look better than they are by unscrupulous
bookkeeping and extravagant distribution of profits,
earned or unearned. These things happen in a world
in which the ignorance of the public about money
matters is a constant invitation to those who are
skilled in them to relieve the public of money
which it would probably mis-spend; but, if well
and honestly worked, the system is by no means
inherently unsound, as some English critics toci