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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/317

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303
GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE.

The Russians determined nearly forty years ago to make their own sugar out of beet-root, and at first encouraged their manufacturers with a specific bounty. Subsequently they substituted for the bounty an almost prohibitory duty on imports, and under this system the production of beets and sugar increased rapidly for many years, with large resulting profits to producers. In 1881 the Russian manufacturers produced just enough to satisfy the demands of the home market. In 1882 there was an excess of production. Prices then began to fall and manufacturers to fail. They could not export their surplus at a profit, because they could not compete in foreign markets. More protection at home was not wanted, because the protection existing was complete. Under these circumstances application was made to the Government to pay them for exporting their surplus, and this the Government agreed to do, to the extent of giving a bounty of one rouble per pood[1] on an exportation that was to be limited to two million poods, with a remission also of all internal taxes on tie same. This arrangement continued until January, 1886, when, the Russian market being overstocked with sugar, an extension of the bounty on an unlimited exportation was demanded, and granted by the Government for a period of about six months, or until July, 1886. The result was that the Russian exporters poured upon the English and Italian markets (the only ones readily available to them) during this brief time, and to the great disturbance of the world's markets, sugar to the amount of seven and a half million poods (227,000,000 pounds), leaving still three million poods surplus at home unsold and unsalable. The present French export bounty on sugars is estimated at from 5s. to 10s. ($1.20 to 82.40) per cwt., entailing an annual expense to the treasury of at least $15,000,000. As the French refiners, however, obtain a great quantity of untaxed raw sugars, the actual annual loss to the Government is believed to be much greater. The present export bounty in Germany is 2s. per cwt., and the present annual treasury expenditure, in order that foreigners may have cheap sugar, is believed to be about 37,733,796 marks, or 89,334,000. For the year 1885-'86, Austria is supposed to have paid 88,000,000; Belgium, 84,000,000; and Holland, 61,330,000, on account of sugar-export bounties. The United States, in this business of selling sugar cheap to foreigners at the expense of their own people, has also played a not undistinguished part, the exports of refined sugars having risen from 22,227,000 pounds in 1881 to 252,579,000 pounds in 1885, or 26,000,000 pounds in excess of the entire cane-sugar product of the country for the latter year. The secret of this probably was, that a bounty was paid under the guise

    Of this exportation a large part went to the United Kingdom, where the average consumption of sugar for that year was in excess of seventy pounds per capita, as compared with an average of seventeen pounds for the population of Germany.

  1. The Russian pood equals 35 English pounds, and the single silver Russian rouble may be reckoned at 60 cents.