Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/152

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tendency seen now and then towards excessive centralization. It is not, however, from tyranny that we are likely to suffer, but rather from a breakdown in an organization too extended and too difficult of effective operation. There can be no question in the minds of students of political history that the future of the nation depends upon the cooperation of the governmental units rather than upon the exaggeration of one of them. Instead of attempting to magnify the federal government, there ought to be a marked movement toward the equalizing of the functions of both. Because of the extending of its authority over a large area, the federal government is in a position to secure information on all topics for utilization in the various states. An instance of this statement is found in the collection of data already undertaken by the different bureaus at Washington. With the authority of the national government behind them, they are able to bring together an immense amount of data that throws light upon many questions. To limit the functions of the federal government to the mere collection of data is not in the mind of any one. A second step could be taken, one that is already being carried on, through the medium of investigation. Thus the collection of data should be supplemented by specific investigations of various matters of interest to the public welfare. Again this alone is not sufficient. Such information must be given publicity, and here the federal government is in a position not only to give wide publicity to its own actions and the results of any investigations which it carries on, but is in a position to insist upon publicity on the part of all interstate corporations. Because of the conflict of authority in the field of commerce many suggestions have been made from time to time by which the federal government is to take over full authority in the matter of incorporating such corporations. It is urged in behalf of this movement that many of the states now permit the incorporation of companies under peculiarly satisfactory provisions for the company, and that as a consequence the other states are not able to control them. There is considerable truth in this position. But the matter is comparatively easily disposed of. There is no reason why congress should not pass an act setting forth the conditions under which any corporation may engage in interstate commerce. These conditions would have reference to capitalization, publicity of accounts, and responsibility for any statements set forth regarding their business. Such a law would in no way necessitate incorporation or the disturbance of the incorporation of companies by the different states. But like the tax upon bank currency passed in 1866, it would have a marked effect in forcing corporations to comply with the federal conditions, while at the same time allowing the states to modify the law so as to apply to the conditions peculiar to their own territory.

Many other instances might be cited in which the same relationships are to be found as in the case of the interstate corporations. The more