Readings on the Relation of Government to Property and Industry

By Samuel P. Orth | Go to book overview

IV CORPORATIONS

THE ABUSE OF THE CORPORATION CHARTER

BY DON E. MOWRY OF THE MILWAUKEE BAR

(From Central Law Journal, January 18, 1907)

The corporation is the almost universal form of organization used in conducting business to-day; and in one sense the corporation problem is the business problem of our country. The question is a very wide one, and only a few phases of corporate control can be presented here. -- EDITOR'S NOTE.

The wave of legislative reform, which has taken on such gigantic proportions within the last few years, has finally culminated in an active, aggressive, and altogether too zealous campaign against the industrial corporation. We appear to have gone "reform mad," and in our efforts to curb the power of capital and allied corporate interests, we have failed, utterly, to realize that the trend of modern business makes the corporation an imperative necessity. This outcry is largely due to the fact that public policy has not taken the proper steps towards bringing about a regulation of corporate interests. The transformation from the partnership to the business corporation has been so rapid that we, who are vitally interested in legislative reform, have failed to see that the real danger lies not so much in the corporation itself as in the granting of the corporation's charter. To-day five men can sit around a table, put one dollar in the center, organize a corporation calling for a million dollars worth of capital, repocket the dollar, and go home after sending a certificate of incorporation to the secretary of state, with a million dollar enterprise ready to launch. Such are the laws of every state of the union with the exception of Massachusetts. Some states have gone even a step farther. They have made their laws so general in character that companies have been organized for the express purpose of incorporating enterprises which do not intend to do business within the particular state. These states do not hesitate to put the great seal of the state upon a concern which

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