Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/320

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
306
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing the already large number of Malay pirates, the Dutch ministry, in 1886, decided, besides making advances to planters on their crops, to purchase from their colonial planters five eighths of their production at a price that would entail a sacrifice on the Dutch treasury of about 40,000,000 francs, or 68,000,000.[1] And since then it seems to have been well established, that German beet-root sugar has been and is now exported half round the globe, and largely sold in Singapore, the center of the great sugar-producing countries of Asia, at a price which makes its use to the manufactories of preserved fruits more advantageous than the sugars of Java and the other islands of the Indian Archipelago. A like exportation of Continental sugars, artificially reduced in price, to Australia, also threatens with ruin the developing cane-sugar industry of these countries.

Finally, the states of Continental Europe, in which the burden of taxation is already most grievous, and in most of which there is a regular and increasing annual deficit, are beginning to feel that they can no longer endure the strain upon their finances which the bounty paying system to their sugar-industries entails, and which has not brought prosperity to them or the state. In this reaction, Russia has taken the lead, and is stopping her bounties as rapidly as possible; and all the other states exhibit unmistakable evidences of a desire to follow her example. The difficulty, however, is that so much of their respective sugar-industries as has been called into existence artificially would be immediately ruined, with great loss and suffering to a large number of people, if the bounties were at once discontinued; and the same result would follow by the putting an end to any possibility of exporting, if one, or all but one, of the states should cease paying bounties, and one, like France, should continue to do so. Earnest efforts are accordingly being made for the holding of an international congress, with the object of agreeing upon a mutual abandonment of the bounty system; and the official announcement has been made by the British Government that Austria-Hungary, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Denmark have agreed to participate; Russia and France having not as yet declared themselves on the subject of attendance.

In face of this experience, the Government of the Argentine Republic has determined to appropriate an annual sum of $550,000 for three years, in order to stimulate the export trade of that country in beef and mutton for the European market.

The recent experience of France in attempting to stimulate shipbuilding and ship-using, through a carefully-devised system of subsidies and bounties, furnishes another illustration of the effect of gov-

  1. "Journal des Fabricants de Sucre," October, 1886.

    A further idea of the depression of the sugar-trade in Java may be gained from the fact, that the imports of raw sugar from the island by Holland have declined—comparing the results of the year 1870 with those of 1885—about 90 per cent.