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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/21

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11
THE ECONOMIC DISTURBANCES SINCE 1873.

gold has been sufficient to give to these nations all the gold that they required, without apparently affecting the requirements of other countries. Again, while the continuing increase in the population of the world" and a more rapid increase in recent years in its production and trade,' have certainly necessitated a continually increasing supply of money for effective exchanges, evidence is not wanting to prove that all such requirements have been met and any possible deficiencies in the supply of metallic money fully supplemented through various agencies. The present annual production of gold is enormous compared with any period antecedent to 1850.[1] Before 1840 its annual production was about $14,000,000; it rose to its highest point—8157,000,000—about 1853; and for the year 1885 (according to the estimate of the Director of the United States Mint) was $101,500,000. The production of silver has also largely increased in recent years ($39,000,000 in 1850, $51,000,000 in 1870, and $124,900,000 in 1885), and no evidence can be produced to show that there has been any actual diminution in its aggregate use by reason of its so-called "demonetization" in any country.

Never before in the history of the world have there been so many and such successful devices invented and adopted for economizing the use of money. Every increase in facilities for banking and for the granting and extension of credits largely contributes to this result; the countries enjoying the maximum of such facilities requiring the smallest comparative amount of coin for their commercial transactions, as is illustrated by the circumstance that while in Great Britain (according to Mulhall) the ratio of metallic money used to the whole commerce of the country is only 20 per cent, the ratio rises in Germany to 34 per cent, in the United States to 58 per cent, and in France to 85 per cent.

Furthermore the banking facilities of the world, according to the same authority, have increased since 1840 eleven-fold; or three times greater than the increase in commerce, and thirty times greater than that of population.

The great reduction in the time and cost of distribution of commodities,and the facility with which purchases can be made and credits transmitted by telegraph, have also resulted, not only in an enormous saving of capital, but also in an ability to transact an increased business with diminished necessity for the absorption and use of actual money. A most striking illustration in proof of this, given by Mr. Fowler ("Appreciation of Gold," London, 1885) is, that while the total British export and import trade, aggregating £6,000,000,000 from 1866 to 1875, was accompanied by an aggregate export and import of £530,000,000 of bullion and specie, an aggregate value from 1876 to 1885 of £6,700,000,000, was moved with the aid of only £439,000,000

  1. "In the last thirty-five years, one and one third times as much gold has been produced as in the three hundred and fifty-eight years preceding 1850."—Laughlin.