A remarkable feature of the last ten or fifteen years in the United States has been the widening distribution of the shares of large corporations, indicating that a greater and greater number of people who possess or can save capital are putting their money into corporate securities. Taken in the aggregate, the size of the speculative public in the United States is enormous. The Wall Street Journal calculates that 327 large corporations in 1913 had a total of 1,251,468 shareholders listed on their books. Even after making a liberal allowance for duplications, the number is strikingly large. Many of the stockholders are small. The 327 corporations analyzed have a combined share capital of $12,871,327,450. The average holding of railroad shares is $13,320; of industrial shares, $8,500. For industrial shares the average holdings in recent years are as follows:

1901,

$22,000

1906,

14,000

1911,

$10,000

1913,

8,500

The United States Steel Corporation has over 124,000 shareholders of record, among whom are included many foreign investment associations and other holders who are practically trustees for a considerable number of other people, so that the total number of persons financially interested in the United States Steel shares is thought to be about 150,000 to 160,000; 40,000 of the shareholders are its own employees and they constitute about one-sixth of the total number of employees of the corporation. In 1901 the average holding of United States Steel shares was $32,000; in 1906, $15,000; in 1913, $7,000. The average holdings of other important companies compare as follows :

1901

1913

American Telephone & Telegraph Co........

$14,105

$6,400

American Radiator Company...........

30,800

8,700

American Tobacco Company.........

33,700

14,185

Burroughs Adding Machine Company.......

24,000

24,000

Borden's Condensed Milk Company.......

367,646

10,630

General Electric Company.......

6,900

7,400

United Fruit Company........

7,500

4,842

It is clear from all these facts, that the most successful and most popular corporations are carefully cultivating the good-will of the owners of small amounts of capital, including their own employees, and that a notable transfer of ownership into the hands of a larger number of people is in process. This does not, for the present, necessarily mean a transfer of control, which is usually safely in the hands of a few large holders of shares. Yet it involves some tendency at least toward corporate democracy, both in the ownership and in the control of large corporations.