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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/106

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

By all this legislation Denmark posits, clearly the right of the citizen to exist. This principle has been so far recognized by all civilized countries that they acknowledge as a duty the establishment of a Poor Relief System. But in most countries the relief given through such a medium involves certain limitations of political rights; and, moreover, it is generally rather small. No such limitation, however, is attached to the legislation described, where, indeed, help has recently been given so freely that the unemployed workman is under no great inducement to return to work. The Act of February 8, 1918, was intended to create such inducement by providing that the aid given must not be so great as not to give the workman real economic interest to obtain work. But such a law naturally does not form any bulwark against an army of non-workers, and many complaints have been made of the abuse of its provisions. It is not surprising that a workman, who has a weekly wage of 28 kroner and who is consequently entitled to 21 kroner weekly in the form of unemployment support, is not tempted to return to all-day labour for a paltry 7 kroner more by taking employment but prefers to receive unemployment support and then perhaps supply his income by some odd work which is outside the control. A case in point recently came before the Unemployment Council. A member of an unemployment society in the neighbourhood of Copenhagen refused to accept a permanent position because on some days of the week he could earn 12 to 14 kroner per day; he therefore refused the position offered and demanded support from his society for the days on which he had no work. The council, however, decided against him.

To prevent such misuse of funds a new act was issued on November 30, 1918 (to remain in force until the end of 1919), whereby the conditions for receiving help were made more strict. Control of the unemployment societies over their members was increased, and attempts were made to bring about a closer co-operation with the public employment offices. In addition to the current aid, 2 kroner per day