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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/67

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CARE OF UNEMPLOYED

established feature of the training of the journeymen; it was a pleasant time in their lives, which they might sometime look back upon with pleasure. Outside the fixed frames of society there were, indeed, not a few vagrants and idlers; but they were scarcely more numerous in proportion to the population than they are to-day, except in troubled times when war or other disasters had devastated the land. To a great extent private charity took care of such people then, just as it does now.

But under the modern tendency toward specialization, which apportions to each man his occupation and to each trade its field, that is to say, under the increasing industrialization of the community, a reserve army of the unemployed is a natural and unavoidable development. It will vary in size according to the pressure of business, but it will always be large enough to claim attention, even though it does not include vagrants and persons unable to work. Since almost all the activity of the community has now been massed, the individual elements which perhaps found it just as difficult to get along before now come to form a more or less compact body which lays its claims before society.

For a long time the trade unions included labour exchange and support of the unemployed in their programmes. Because of their aggressive attitude, however, they were less able to secure government recognition and support for this work, since they gave 'unemployment support' not only to their members who were out of work, but also to those who were out on strike. It is natural, therefore, that employers always looked askance on labour exchange as practised by trade unions. In this respect German social policy also had no great achievement to boast of. The leading legislators in Germany were not in favour of unemployment insurance as it had been practised in Switzerland, for instance, in Berne, or in Belgium under the so-called Ghent system. Various proposals were made, to be sure, as, for instance, that of compulsory savings from wages for the support of the