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THE case studies of the fifteen hundred New Jersey and Boston bankrupts which were made during the last two years throw some light upon the functions which the venerable institution of bankruptcy is performing. The present Act was passed in 1898 and, though amended several times, has never been changed fundamentally. During the thirty-three years it has been in force no inventory of its operation has been made. But little attempt has been made to determine its incidences. In fact without independent investigations that would be practically impossible, as no provision is made in the system for the collection of vital statistics of bankruptcy. The only data available are those contained in the annual reports of the attorney-general. They are practically valueless for even an administrative, let alone a functional, study of bankruptcy. They reveal little of the kinds of persons using bankruptcy. No clues are given as to why they are there. No information is set forth showing what treatment they obtain-whether they applied for a discharge, whether the application was contested, whether the discharged was granted or refused and if refused on what ground. Nothing is given showing how the various subdivisions of the discharge section [§ 14 (b)] are working. The deficiencies are as apparent on the administrative side of bankruptcy, not only as respects § 14 but also as respects all other sections of the Act.
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