Recent Social Legislation
Several of the above-described measures were adopted for the special benefit of the lower classes of the community. Where prices were not directly fixed, it was attempted to limit profits from sales. A note of February 1, 1917. prohibited exploitation of the opportunities created by the war, and provided that goods were not to be sold at a higher price than that previously current, if the increased price could not be proved due to the increased expenses for the seller in connexion with the manufacture, purchase, or costs of the goods. It prevented articles which passed through several hands from being sold at more than the original price, thus prohibiting profits by middlemen as far as the transfer from one seller to another might involve an apparent reason for an increase in the price. Other means of limiting profits were devised through the many new taxes established during the last years of the war, as will be shown later.
In view of the stringent need of the lower classes the municipalities were authorized to spend considerable sums for their relief; and the state also made considerable grants. The acts of December 22, 1915, December 28, 1916, and December 21, 1917, authorized gifts of money through the Municipal Relief Funds and other institutions such as the recognized Unemployment Funds, as well as reductions in the price of food and fuel for the whole population and especially for the poor.
The condition of the unemployed was considered. The number of unemployed increased especially on account of the unrestricted submarine war, and they must be helped. The act of 1914 relating to Unemployment Funds had provided that the members should have passed through a period of carene, no support being given to a workman until he had been a subscribing member for at least twelve months. This provision was temporarily suspended by an act of October 27, 1917, and much relief was thereby rendered possible. Eventual provisions that an unemployed member should receive relief only at certain