The Spread of People's Capitalism

In Nine Rich and Poor Nations of the World, Here's Where Small Investors Put Their Money

IN the 1960s, Keith Funston, New York Stock Exchange president, urged ordinary Americans to buy stock. The campaign slogan was "People's Capitalism."

Since then, governments and stock exchanges in other nations have been encouraging small investors to shift their money from bank accounts (or bed mattresses) to the stock market, expecting to raise more capital for business investment. In this report, the Monitor looks at how people invest their money in nine different countries outside the United States.

In the US, 9.2 percent of the population owned stock either directly or through mutual funds in 1962; by 1990 it was 21.1 percent. In Britain, the government used a cartoon character, Sid, to promote the sale of shares in British Gas, which was being privatized. In Germany, almost a year ago, the government enacted legislation banning insider trading and making reporting of corporate profits more transparent - measures to encourage Hans and Helga to put more of their money into stocks rather than bonds and bank accounts.

Less-developed countries also are striving to persuade small investors to invest in stock. Communist China has allowed the establishment of two exchanges; India has a large population of stock-market enthusiasts. And South Africa's first black-majority government is trying to interest blacks in financial investments.

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