Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/20

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of the Precious Metals," which gives the estimates of Messrs. Soetbeer, of Germany, and Pixley, of London, two of the best recognized authorities on this subject, as to the average yearly amount of gold available for the supply of coin at different periods since 1850:

Soetbeer. Pixley.
1857-'60 £22,780,000 1852-'60 £27,600,000
1861-'70 14,060,000 1861-'70 17,600,000
1871-'80 10,255,000 1871-'80 18,700,000
1881-'84 4,050,000 1881-'85 11,200,000

That trade, in the sense of diminishing volume, has not been obstructed, and that the decline in prices in recent years has not been occasioned, to any appreciable extent, by reason of the scarcity of gold, would appear to be demonstrated by the evidence that has been herewith presented. For the assertion that wages, generally, have fallen, there is absolutely no foundation, as will be shown hereafter. That profits have fallen must be admitted; but such a result has been due, in almost every case, to the severe competition engendered by the desire to effect sales in face of a continued supply of commodities in excess of any current market demand. While in contravention of the assumption that the supply of gold in recent years has been inadequate to meet the increased demands of the world for coinage, etc., the following facts are in the highest degree pertinent, if not wholly conclusive:

No one doubts that the amount of gold in the civilized countries of the world has largely increased in recent years. M. Soetbeer names $538,000,000 as the increase from 1877 to 1885. It is absolutely certain that the reserves of gold in the principal banks of Europe and the United States have in recent years largely increased, and not diminished. Professor Laughlin estimates this increase to have been "from 8477,000,000 in 1870-'80 to 6836,000,000 in 1885." In 1871-'74 there was, according to the same authority, "$1 in gold for every $3.60 of the paper circulation of the banks of the civilized world; in 1885 there was $1 of gold for every 82.40; the total note circulation increasing during the same time to the extent of $464,000,000, or 29 per cent." In 1870-'74 the gold reserves amounted to 28 per cent of the total note circulation, and 64 per cent of all the specie reserves; in 1885 "the gold bore a larger ratio to a larger issue of paper, or 41 per cent of the total note circulation, and 71 per cent of the specie reserves. This," as Professor Laughlin remarks, "is a very significant showing. What it means, beyond a shadow of doubt, is that the supply of gold is so abundant that the character and safety of the note circulation has been improved in a signal manner."

Since 1873-'74 Germany has radically modified her metallic circulation, giving preference to and using additional gold, and the United States and Italy have resumed specie payments. But the supply of