Working Of Stock Exchanges

Of all the modern service institutions, stock exchanges are perhaps the most crucial agents and facilitators of entrepreneurial progress. After the industrial revolution, as the size of business enterprises grew, it was no longer possible for proprietors or partnerships to raise colossal amount of money required for undertaking large entrepreneurial ventures. Such huge requirement of capital could only be met by the participation of a very large number of investors; their numbers running into hundreds, thousands and even millions, depending on the size of business venture.

In general, small time proprietors, or partners of a proprietary or partnership firm, are likely to find it rather difficult to get out of their business should they for some reason wish to do so. This is so because it is not always possible to find buyers for an entire business or a part of business, just when one wishes to sell it. Similarly, it is not easy for someone with savings, especially with a small amount of savings, to readily find an appropriate business opportunity, or a part thereof, for investment.

These problems will be even more magnified in large proprietorships and partnerships. Nobody would like to invest in such partnerships in the first place, since once invested, their savings would be very difficult to convert into cash. And most people have lots of reasons, such as better investment opportunity, marriage, education, death, health and so on for wanting to convert their savings into cash. Clearly then, big enterprises will be able to raise capital from the public at large only if there were some mechanism by which the investors could purchase or sell their share of business as ands they wished to do so.

This implies that ownership in business has to be “broken up” into a lager number of small units, such that each unit may be independently & easily bought and sold without hampering the business activity as such. Also, such breaking of business ownership would help mobilize small savings in the economy into entrepreneurial ventures.

This end is achieved in a modern business through the mechanism of shares.

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