Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/484

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464
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION.

By DAVID A. WELLS, LL. D., D. C. L.,

CORRESPONDANT DE L'INSTITUT DE FRANCE, ETC.

II.—THE PLACE OF TAXATION IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY.

PART VII.

THE Tax Experiences of Switzerland. — Any review of the notable experiences of the Governments of different countries in raising revenue for their maintenance and support would be incomplete if it failed to notice those of Switzerland, where the conditions involved are, to say the least, exceptional, or different in many respects from those of any other government or country. These conditions, stated briefly, are as follows:

A country of comparatively small area — 15,964 square miles  — and in no small part uninhabitable and practically inaccessible, with a population in 1804 of about 3,000,000 (3,086,848). These conditions may be best appreciated by the following comparisons: Of the four countries that are immediately contiguous to and bound Switzerland, France has an area of 204,003 square miles and a population of 38,343,193; Germany, 308,738 square miles and a population of 40,438,470; Austria-Hungary, 364,364 square miles and 40,810,016 population; and Italy, 114,410 square miles and 39,699,785 population. A comparison with some of the States that in the aggregate constitute the United States also affords the following results: The whole of Switzerland has about one third of the area of the State of New York and one half of its population; one sixteenth of the area of the State of Texas; less than one third of the area of the State of Georgia, etc.

Of the total area of Switzerland, only seventy-two per cent, or an area about as large as the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island combined, is classed as habitable and productive; and the soil of this portion does not yield sufficient for the support of more than two thirds of the population, a large percentage of the remaining third finding employment and support mainly in very small industries, occupying only a family. The position taken by Switzerland in the trade and commerce of the world is most remarkable, especially when the various natural obstacles are considered — such as the absence of raw material for her industries, asphalt being the only raw mineral product of which the export exceeds the import — the costly and difficult means of transport, and the restrictive customs established by neighboring and bounding countries. Thus, a comparison of the exports of different countries, in proportion to their population, of manufactured products to the world's markets, shows that