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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/116

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

of all raw materials was prohibited. Just as lighting was recently regulated in Denmark, so too it was prohibited in Paris to prevent a rise in the price of candles. But before the close of 1794 the law fixing maximum prices had to be repealed. In the modern community conditions are entirely different. Of course, there have been many violations of the law, both large and small, as well as many attempts at smuggling and profiteering. On the whole, however, it may be said that the laws have worked satisfactorily. Posterity will probably be more critical of the many measures regulating agriculture, as the branch where, as mentioned before, individualism has a strong influence. The question will be asked: Could not the powerful agricultural organizations have accomplished the task of securing the necessary supplies for the country without any interference from the state? Further, the measures that were adopted to relieve the pressure of high prices will be looked at askance. The increase of salaries for the hordes of functionaries who otherwise would have been unable to make both ends meet under the great increase in the cost of living will not be censured, and much has been said in praise of the efficient support given to the unemployed, although it need not have been done through the recognized unemployment societies whose whole rule of being, as above mentioned, was thereby quite upset. The main question will be whether, on the whole, it was prudent for the state to act as guardian of the population, and in that capacity to procure commodities at a cheap rate for the people and at a large cost to the state and municipalities, and whether so many direct grants should have been made. It will be asked whether a little less interference would not have been better. No doubt the consequence would have been that wages would have risen as prices rose. The working classes would then have needed no outside aid, and the upper classes would have had heavier expenses but lighter taxes. Most people will prefer such an arrangement, even though the result, whether surplus or deficit, be the