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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Australasian Production

Australasian Production.

It is more desirable that we should carefully watch the production of our industries, for, after all, it is the result of our own labors that must ultimately bear the sole burden of our indebtedness, Unfortunately, no one who carefully studies the matter can fail to note that the percentage of production left after payment of our interest charges is regularly diminishing. We have calculated the interest charges for 1881 at eight millions; we have no means of estimating with anything like accuracy what the charges were in 1861 and 1871, but probably we shall not be very far wrong in taking it at two millions for 1861 and four millions for page 38 1871. On this basis, then, let us compare the exports of Australasia—our salea of produce to the rest of the world—with our interest payments:—

1861. 1871. 1881. 1890
£ £ £ £
Total exports Australasian products 16,009,783 23,090,325 31,210,972 36,731,351
Aggregate inte test Australasian indebtedness 2,000,000 4,000,000 8,000,000 15,000,000
Balance available for the purchase of imports 14,609,733 19,005,325 23,210,072 21,731,000
Percentage of exports required to pay interest 12 17 26 41
Percentage of exports available to buy imports 88 83 74 50

The figures here given are exceedingly remarkable. Our net or free exporta, wherewith we can buy commodities which we desire to import, are actually less in 1890 than they were in 1881, and very little more than they were in 1871, The interest payments which in 1861 left £88 out of every £100 of exports, in 1890 only left £59. Comparing the net or free exports with the population, we find that in 1861 they reached nearly £12 per head, whilst in 1890 they had fallen to less than £6 per head. We must point out that reduced exports are often a sign of increased prosperity, for the greater the consuming power the smaller must be the surplus available to sell to other countries; but making every allowance for this fact it must certainly be admitted that the figures we have given are very unsatisfactory. We should have preferred to have compared the interest charges with the production for the four periods referred to, but the necessary figures were not available. We have, however, in a previous article, been able to compare the production of 1881 and 1890. The result confirms the inference to be drawn from the table now published.