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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/53

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THE COMMISSION OF 1885

out this statement. At the close of 1917 the 1,550 societies comprised not less than 991,000 members, or half of the adult population of Denmark. Of these 11,000 were victims of chronic diseases and were admitted only under reservation. Funds to the amount of 11,000,000 kroner (about $3,000,000) had been collected, while the annual income was 13,000,000 kroner, of which 3,700,000 came from the state and 300,000 from the municipalities. The largest outlay was for medical assistance, amounting to more than 5,000,000 kroner, i. e. about 5 kroner per member. This amount has increased at a rapid rate, since a few years ago it was only 4 kroner. The outlay for medicine, bandages, etc., was 1,200,000 kroner; for treatment in ordinary hospitals, as well as in consumptive hospitals and lunatic asylums, 1,700,000 kroner; and for pecuniary assistance (inclusive of help to women in confinement) 3,400,000 kroner. The administration cost upwards of 1,000,000 kroner.

A large number of recognized societies also established burial funds, and a very considerable number of these have combined in a reinsurance fund which has contributed still more to enhance the sense of union.

The above description will convey a general idea of the friendly societies of Denmark and of their value as means of self-help offered with the greatest possible freedom. In only one point is there an apparent breach of the principle of free determination. This is the law of 1908 (later amended) concerning the employment of foreigners, the so-called 'Polaklov'. It relates to a Friendly Society organized for the benefit of Polish workmen, the support of which is compulsory upon their employers, but is aided in part by a government subvention. These foreign workmen who live for a while in Denmark are of course entitled to effective protection, but they cannot be expected to possess that privilege of voluntary association which belongs to Danish workmen.