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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/51

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members seems positively to indicate that the great increase in numbers during recent years is from the lower classes, the servants and labourers, and that the day is not far off when nearly all of the poor people will be members of one or another of the recognized Friendly Societies. While a few people still shun them, it is of very great importance that they have given the lower classes of the community an opportunity to exercise self-government and, through their delegates and the council elected by them, to contribute to the further development of the cause.

A committee was appointed in 1910 to amend the act, but the amendment was not completed until 1915; and the act which went into effect at the close of that year did not contain any essential changes. The rules relating to the government subvention were modified in various ways; for the capital the amount of the subvention was limited to 4.65 kroner ($1.25) per annum per member; for the provincial towns to 4.15 kroner ($1.11); and for the rural districts to 3.65 kroner ($0.98). A deficiency fund was also established which was to make up, during the first years, any deficit in the amount previously contributed in accordance with the old act. These limits will probably be abolished by further legislation. The act further empowers the municipality, within certain limits, to help poor members of recognized societies in the payment of their subscriptions, and to do this without the consent of the higher authorities. To this must be added the grants made in the last few years in conformity with the laws passed to alleviate the high cost of living—a matter to which we shall refer later. Of very great importance, moreover, is the duty which the law imposes on the municipalities to furnish free transportation to the sick, or to physicians and nurses, in rural districts, and to reduce hospital charges. The state further sets apart considerable sums for consumptive hospitals and for lunatic asylums. As regards membership, the new law contains an extension of the previous provision regulating the admission of persons