Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/41

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35
THE PERIL OF EXPLOITING THE POOR

sponding period in 1913. After three months a modified restriction was placed upon the export of tea, but after reckoning the whole sum it is found that during the time we have been at war we have sent abroad over 20,000,000 lbs. of tea, while in the corresponding period of the previous year we sent only a little over 2,000,000 lbs.!

Now where has it gone? In August and September last, Germany received from Holland 16,000,000 lbs. whereas in that period of 1913 she only received 1,000,000 lbs. Tea is given as a stimulant to German troops in the field, so we see how the British Government have been tricked into actually feeding the enemy!

And again, let us see how the poor are being exploited by the policy of those in high authority. At the outbreak of war the market price of tea was 7½d. per lb. As soon as exportation was allowed, the price was raised to the buyer at home to 9d. Then when exports were restricted, it fell to 8¼d. But as soon as the restrictions on exports were removed altogether, the price rose until, to-day, the very commonest leaf-tea fetches 10d. a lb.—a price never equalled, save in the memories of octogenarians.

Who is to blame for this fattening of our enemies at the expense of the poor? Let the reader put this question seriously to himself.

Generally speaking, of course, prices of all articles are regulated by the ordinary laws of supply and demand; if the supply falls or the demand increases, prices go up. But there is another factor which sometimes comes into play which is very much in evidence at the present moment—the existence of "rings" of unscrupulous financiers who, with ample resources in cash and organisation, see in every