As has been intimated at the beginning of this chapter, exploitation as a factor in business transactions is perhaps a more common evil than it was in the days when business organizations were simpler and under the more direct control of their owners. The officer or director of the modern corporation occupies a position, not merely of dignity and responsibility, but also of trust. This trusteeship is more clearly recognized, perhaps, than was the case a generation or more ago. But the ascendency of the higher standards, which are implied in a sense of trusteeship, comes slowly and is the result of innumerable hard struggles. In the meantime, exploitation in its myriad forms goes on apparently unchecked, while, on the surface, financial transactions usually appear regular, and plausible reasons can easily be advanced for approving them; yet, once in a while a lawsuit or an investigation suddenly tears away the silken covering and reveals the ugly figures of greed and graft. Our surprise and dismay for the moment are acute; then we forget. We regain a feeling of security which remains until the next unpleasant incident occurs.

It seems probable, however, on the whole that the sense of business honor is more developed today than ever before. It is certain that the laws against corporate malfeasance are more stringent than before and undoubtedly these laws reflect a real development of business conscience.