Page images
PDF
EPUB

Now what the jury finds is needed in New York is needed also in Providence and doubtless in many other cities—namely, after a proper system of requirement is framed and an effective system of inspection is established, the provision of an efficient mode of enforcing requirements. It can never amount to anything, obviously, to prescribe most thorough precautions and yet have no power immediately and completely to secure their adoption.

There should be power in some responsible official to close buildings at once in which there is found a non-compliance with orders. That would be a law with teeth in it indeed. And another very much-needed requirement is that there should be fire drills in every building where the employment of many persons is allowed. The general purpose to prevent fire, to put out fire promptly and to provide for the escape of those exposed to fire can, in any city, be best and most surely served by the establishment and exercise of the power to close buildings when compliance with legal precautionary requirements is either refused or neglected.

[graphic]

OSCAR P. AUSTIN,

Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, Department of

Commerce and Labor.

THE UNITED STATES AS A COMMERCIAL POWER.

BY OSCAR P. AUSTIN.

THE United States maintains, in the year 1911, its high rank among the commercial nations of the world. Its exports for the first time passed the two billion dollar line, and while the imports fell slightly below those of last year, the record of 1911 was larger than any other year except 1910, when the importation of certain classes of merchandise was abnormally large. In rank among nations the United States stands second as an exporter of domestic merchandise and third as an importer of merchandise. Its exports of domestic products exceed those of any other country except Great Britain and its imports are larger than those of any other country except Great Britain and Germany.

One feature in which the United States is rapidly gaining in its commercial rank among nations is that of manufactures exported. A decade ago, in 1901, the value of manufactures exported was but 447 million dollars; in the year 1911 it was, in round terms one billion dollars, if we include the value of manufactures sent to our noncontiguous territories of Porto Rico and Hawaii, formerly included in the foreign trade statements of the country but now customs districts and therefore omitted from such statements.

An analysis of the imports by great groups shows that decreases occurred in manufactures ready for consumption, in crude materials for use in manufacturing, and in foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured; while increases occurred in foodstuffs in a crude condition, and in manufactures for further use in manufacturing. Figures for ten months ending with October, the latest period for which statistics are available at the time of this writing, show that imports of crude foodstuffs were

valued at 145 million dollars, an increase of 27 million over the corresponding period of the preceding year; foodstuffs partly or wholly prepared, 151 million, a decrease of 18 million dollars; crude materials for use in manufacturing, 4211⁄2 million, a decrease of 30 million dollars; manufactures for further use in manufacturing, 242 million, an increase of 5 million dollars; and manufactures ready for consumption, 294 million, a decrease of 16 million dollars. Of the foodstuffs in a crude condition, the chief increases in imports occurred in fruits, cocoa, and coffee. The increase in coffee was partially due to higher prices, the ten months' imports, 620 million pounds valued at 70 million dollars, showing an increase of but 8 million pounds in quantity and an increase of 161⁄2 million dollars in value. Imports of sugar are considerably smaller than last year, the ten months showing a total of 3,842 million pounds valued at 92 million dollars, compared with 3,978 million pounds valued at 1081⁄2 million dollars in a like period of 1910. India rubber imports decreased from 78 million in ten months of 1910 to 66 million in 1911, and the respective values from 85 million to 61 million dollars; hides and skins also decreased, from 401 million pounds valued at 75 million dollars to 347 million pounds valued at 66 million dollars. A slight increase occurred in the quantity of tin bars, blocks, etc., the ten months' figures of 92 million pounds being but one million pounds larger than those of last year, but the higher price this year raised the value to 37 million dollars, as against 29 million in 1910. Wool imports in the ten months of 1911 aggregated 22 million dollars, compared with 33 million in 1910 for corresponding months; fibers, 25 million dollars, against 24 million in 1910; and raw silk, 55 million, against 52 million dollars last year. Among the manufactured articles imported, woolen goods decreased, as did also lumber, cigars and cigarettes, silk goods, iron and steel products, leather manufactures, cars and carriages, and many other important items.

Considering now the exports by great groups and leading articles, it is found that foodstuffs in a crude condition increased from 70 million dollars in ten months ending with October, 1910, to 95 million in a like period of 1911; foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured from 203 to 247 million dollars; crude materials for use in manufacturing, from 437 to 491 million dollars; manufactures for further use in manufacturing, from

« PreviousContinue »