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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/103

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LEGISLATION CAUSED BY THE WAR

could be imported for, and after February 9, 1917, sugar was rationed.

All these provisions, the preparation and application of which necessitated the creation of many committees and councils, as well as the building up of a considerable administrative apparatus, was necessarily distasteful, of course, to a large part of the population, even though it be admitted that Denmark was better off than most of the neutral countries. The pressure was most severely felt by agriculture, which is the true stronghold of individualism. One of the beneficial, though indirect, results of the restrictions was the falling off in the production of spirits consequent upon the scarcity of grain. While the champions of liberalism maintain that prohibition or limitation of spirits was not according to reason, it is nevertheless a fact that sentiment against alcoholism, which has been growing in Denmark during the last decade, has been greatly increased by the experience during the war.

While the Danish population was thus obliged to submit to a number of restrictions, the fact must not be overlooked that the various trades worked hand in hand with the government, and that their organizations were allowed to take many independent measures designed to control the supply of goods to individual traders. This was especially the case with the 'Joint Council of Trades', formed in February 1917, and consisting of members elected by the organizations of agriculture, commerce, shipping, and industry. This Joint Council brought about co-operation between these trades: e. g. the Textile Manufacturers' Association undertook to import cotton; the Industrial Council established a Coal Distribution Office for industries working conjointly with two coal councils appointed by government, one for English, the other for German coal. Moreover, the Joint Council succeeded in bringing about the importation of a quantity of turpentine, which was then distributed among painters, etc. This voluntary action was quite on a par with the action of the state.