Takver's Initiatives. P.O. Box 1078, Brunswick M.D.C, Victoria, 3056, Australia Previous Page TOC Next Page

'Let Us Increase Our Exports!'
J.A.Andrews, 'Reason', March, 1896.

The daily papers are, persistently urging, in common with Parliamentary luminaries and a host of inspired wiseacres, that every possible effort be made to increase the colony's exports, in order to abolish the depression.

If, for instance, the farmer sells more butter to the English - what will he do with the credit placed to his account for it?

Employ Victotian workmen in manufactures? What a commentary on our social system, this idea of the colony sending its products abroad for permission to the citizens to employ each others' labor at home! Have we not plenty of bootmakers short of butter, and farmers with only remains of boots? And that the farmer must make butter and sell it to foreigners for a mere authorisation to arrange an exchange of services with his neighbour the bootmaker! Men of every trade unemployed, eager to get each others' products, eager to go to work for each other; factories idle, farms going to ruin, materials rotting in our stores! Oh yes! let us sell all our supplies to John Bull, he will pay us with pieces of paper permitting the farmer to get a piece of stamped metal from a place called a Bank, and give it to the bootmaker, who will then give a pair of boots to the farmer, and also hand back the coin and take some bacon, cheese and butter. We shall be enjoying Solid Prosperity when we give away all our wealth for a permit to make some more and distrubute it among each other!

But this glorious boon is unrealisable. The foreigner would be sending all his bits of stamped metal to our banks and getting none back; he has to tell the banker, "I owe the farmer so many coins, he owes them to the bootmaker, the bootmaker owes them to somebody else, and so on till they are owed back to me. Pay what I owe and keep what is owed to me." But to this end the farmer or someone he is already able to owe money to must buy the foreigner's goods to the price of the butter exported. If the farmer benefits on one side of the transaction, on the other it is the foreign and not the Victorian industrial operative who is allowed to work for and be in return fed by the farmer - even if it does not mean throwing so many more Victorian operatives out of work and selling as much less butter at home than previously as comes to the price of the more sold abroad.

In any case, it amounts to no more than this last for the farmer, in the long run. If he starts by selling more butter in England - as there is no more chance of opening an exchange of services with the moneyless there than here, he can only sell to those who are able to spend a reasonable sum on butter already - he disemploys the Danish or Dutch dairy-farmers; or granting that there has been less butter in England than would go round among those able to pay a reasonable price for it, he disemploys people whose living has been oleomargarine, lard, dripping, cocoanut oil, jam or treacle. Those who are thus deprived of their incomes cease to give employment to English miners, loom and mill hands, etc. So many people are deprived of their previous power of buying butter, they can only regain it by working for the farmer or his creditor, up to the value of the butter he has placed on the market, thus enabling those primarily affected to eat a part of the butter themselves and pass on the remainder to those who are dependent for it on supplying them with other things. The farmer can only increase his sales in England by displacing somebody else both as a vendor and as a purchaser in England. The competition to sell butter being accordingly rendered fiercer there while the relative demand for other goods remains in the old ratio to the supply, there follows reduction in the price of butter, so that for the larger quantity sold he receives no more value than for the smaller previously. Then, in order to keep up his English trade he must transfer to England the purchases he used to make in Victoria, and so starve out his Victorian customers: or on the other hand, not buying so much of English goods with the smaller sum he now gets for a given quantity of butter (and any increased quantity he tries to sell at the reduced rate only repeats the complications) he must similarly lose English customers. Thus is "prosperity established on a sound and permanent basis."!!! !!! !!!

No amount of wriggling under the present social system will set things right, and the only way we can do any good by 'increasing our exports" is to export those people who have not the sense, the honesty or the courage to rightly conceive, desire, and work to realise, a radical transformation of society.

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Last modified: May 1, 1999

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