Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from The Purposes of the Indebtedness of American Cities, 1880-1912: Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics in the Graduate School
The first concerns matters of theory and fact that have been widely discussed, and in connection with the third there has been much consideration Of the general purposes for which certain kinds of loans are used. But there seems to have been no ex tended investigation into and comparison of the facts to answer the second question, although valuable data with regard to the purposes of issue have been collected by the bureau Of the census.
This problem is here treated from an historical point Of view and is confined to a single type of indebtedness: namely, those debts which are incurred with the intention of shifting a part or all Of the burden Of a given expenditure to a future year or years by raising the money for the present expenditure through the use of loans to be met in those future years. It is this class of Obliga tions which seems to be the most vital part Of the problem Of city indebtedness. Consequently this is a study Of the purposes of issue Of so-called funded and special assessment loans.
A comparison Of the indebtedness Of different years would mean little or nothing if confined to a mere statement of the amount of the debt in those years, for the real burden should be measured in relation to the financial ability of the people who must bear it. Probably a comparison Of the relation of debt to the incomes Of the people or to their wealth would be more satisfactory, but no suitable facts are available for such a pur pose. Hence in ascertaining the trend Of indebtedness this study has been confined to per capita debt both in comparing the relative burden Of the debt for different purposes and Of that for the same purpose at different times.
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