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The Science of Finance

The Science of Finance

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Excerpt from The Science of Finance: An Investigation of Public Expenditures and Public Revenues

The need of a text-book upon the Science of Finance for the use of colleges and universities is, I believe, generally recognised, and it has been my first purpose in preparing the present treatise to write a book that shall supply this need. A second purpose for which the work was undertaken, and one which perhaps exerted greater influence upon the choice of topics and the manner of their discussion, was the desire to contribute something to the development of a financial system that shall satisfy the peculiar requirements of Federal and local government in the United States. The initial step in this direction consists undoubtedly in a clear presentation of fundamental principles and in a true classification of the means to be employed; but this treatise does not content itself with analysis and theory. In all important cases it applies the administrative test to theoretical conclusions, and insists that every constructive proposal should be judged by its adaptation to existing conditions. It seems proper to make mention of this fact because those suggestions which give character to the programme of financial reform here submitted cannot be appreciated except the reader recognise the emphasis placed upon administrative considerations.

Should it prove that this book is too extended for use in institutions of limited elections, it is suggested that Book I, Part I, and Chapters I and II of Book I, Part II, may be omitted without seriously impairing the logical presentation of the subject.

I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without expressing my obligation to Professor F. M. Taylor of the University of Michigan for his many pertinent suggestions and criticisms. I desire also to acknowledge my gratitude to Professor Frank H. Dixon of Dartmouth College, who did me the favour of reading the final proof. It was necessary to consent to publication during my absence from the country, a statement which makes evident the extent of my indebtedness to Dr. Dixon.

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