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T. E. Cliffe (Thomas Edward Cliffe) Leslie.

Essays in political economy online

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the war, are in some places spoken of as one cause of advanced



Prices in German?/ in 1872. 337

prices in the present year. The chief part of the money comino-
from that source seems, however, as yet either to have been
withheld from circulation by the Government, or to have been
expended west of the Rhine, in Alsace and Lorraine ; and in any
case those payments afford no explanation of the continuous
advance of prices before July, 1871, the last month to which
Dr. Engel's statistics come down. There are, I must allow,
anomalies in German prices which remain inexplicable to me
after much recent local inquiry; but some general results of
importance seem to emerge beyond doubt from their examination
in a number of different places.

The lesson, it is true, which investigation of facts impresses
more and more on one's mind is distrust of economic generaliza-
tions ; still they are of use if we are careful both, as far as possible,
to cover under them only the proper particulars, and also to use
them as guides to, instead of as concluding, inquiry. A general-
ization which may be advanced with reference to the present
subject is that, in the first place, a much lower scale of the prices
of land, labour, animal food, and other main elements of the cost
of living to large classes, will usually be found to prevail in
places without steam communication than in places similarly
situated in other respects, but possessing railways or steam
transport by water ; in the next place, among places possessing
steam communication, a considerably higher scale of prices of
the staples referred to will for the most part be found in those
which are centres of industrial or commercial activity or of
foreign resort than in such as are of a stationary or coloui-less
character; and, thirdly, as a general rule, there is a marked
tendency to a higher elevation of prices in Germany as we travel
from east to west. Hence Germany may be roughly divided
into four monetary regions: вАФ (1) places in arrear of the world's
progress in respect of their means of locomotion as in other
respects ; (2) places communicating by steam with good markets,
but not themselves the sites of much enterprise, or possessing
any special attractions ; (3) places which unite the best means
of communication with local activity, or considerable resort from
without; (4) among places falling within the last category, a



338



Prices in Germany in 1872.



higher scale of rents, wages, the price of animal food and other
essentials will he found, cceteris ^;(7;-?^?



Online LibraryT. E. Cliffe (Thomas Edward Cliffe) LeslieEssays in political economy → online text (page 32 of 41)