Open main menu

Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/100

This page has been validated.
84
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

in the long run. Once a scarcity of goods is felt, fixed prices are of no use; and confusion necessarily results when there is no rise in price, as in a free market, to bring about the balance between the supply and demand. Various regulating measures on the part of the state became necessary, and such measures characterized the whole period of the World War, as well as the first period following its termination. When to all other difficulties was added the bad harvest of 1917, one can readily understand the many reasons for the socialistic policy that was adopted. But in reality the policy of Denmark did not differ from that of other countries in which the populations were living under similar circumstances.

Very soon the scarcity of various foodstuffs was felt. As early as the end of August 1914, the state felt obliged to take over the stores of wheat in the capital, after making due compensation to the owners, and a few days later these stores were handed over to the municipality of Copenhagen. At the end of the year the state took over large quantities of rye, and early in 1915 a shipment of wheat flour from abroad. But this was not enough; the freedom of the farmers was early interfered with, and after consultation with existing organizations of farmers it was voted to prohibit the use of rye and wheat for fodder and for spirituous liquors. The first of these prohibitions was issued in September, 1914; they were later extended to include sugar and sugar-beets. Moreover, the production of rye and wheat bran was restricted. In the autumn of 1915 an assessment upon grain was levied; a certain part of the rye and wheat harvested was reserved for human food, every farmer being notified of the quantity he was bound to deliver. Pursuant to an act of April 3, 1917, the state took over the whole crop of rye and wheat, with the exception only of the quantity necessary for each farmer's household. This was consequent upon the rationing of bread and flour which had begun on April 1, 1917, and which allowed a rather large quantity for each person. The system involved the well-known apparatus of bread-cards. A Corn Act of August 3, 1917, authorized