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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/313

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299
GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE.

practitioners; a second, the examination of druggists and compounding clerks, as precedent to entering into business; while a third regulates the practice of dentistry. Various enactments prescribe the toll to be exacted for grinding wheat; when one man may slay his neighbor's dog with impunity; how railway companies must maintain their waiting-rooms at their stopping-places for passengers; the hours of labor, and the employment of women and children; the maximum time for which locomotive engineers and firemen may be continuously employed; what books shall be used in the public schools; forbidding "raffles" at church fairs under "frightful penalties," and making it a crime to give away a lottery-ticket, and a misdemeanor "to even publish an account of a lottery, no matter when or where it has been conducted." Among bills introduced, and which found considerable support, but were not enacted, was one forbidding persons of different sexes to skate together, or even be present at the same hour on the rink floor; and another to license drinkers, which provided that no person should be permitted to use intoxicants or purchase liquors of any kind without having first obtained a public license.

The result of such a conflict of tariffs as has prevailed in Europe since 1877-'78 has entailed so much of commercial friction, such a series of retaliatory measures, and such an arrest of material development, that there are now many signs that the continuation of this state of affairs will not be much longer endurable. In this conflict, Austria, which was the first country that broke in upon the International Commercial Union that prevailed among the Continental states prior to 1878, has suffered most severely; her exports and imports having notably decreased, while her customs taxes have risen in recent years from 1s. 8d. to 3s. 7d. per head of her population, and her internal taxes on consumption from 3s. 7d. to 6s. 8d. There has been a marked decline in banking profits, an increase in the mortgages on real property, and a decline in the consumption both of meat and of farinaceous articles of food. To such an extent has her fiscal policy invited reprisals that she is described as "standing alone commercially," and reduced to the position of consuming her own products through necessity. Russia having sought to close her doors against the produce of other countries, they in their turn have curtailed their purchases of Russian products, the falling off of Russian imports—comparing 1886 with 1883—having been nearly 25 per cent, and of exports 28 per cent. Of flax, which is one of the principal exports of Russia, the decline in the value of shipments has been from 829,350,000 in 1884 to $19,250,000 in 1886. The German Chambers of Commerce, in their recent reports, have, with very few exceptions, declared against the present tariff policy as most injurious to the industry and commerce of the empire. The recent prohibitory duties decreed by Russia on the importation of iron and steel have closed numerous iron-furnaces in Silesia, and the steam corn-mills of Northern Germany are complaining