National Geographic : 1891 Mar 28
Inflation ; Bribery ; Subsidies ; Insolvency. 21 Money was required to pay the army and the cost of civil and foreign wars. Every dictator had his friends for whom provis ion must be made. Large debts were created; banks were char tered; $200,000,000 of paper money were issued. There were several different circulating mediums; each province strove to outdo the others in the issue of a currency which quickly de preciated. Companies for different purposes were organized, and many were subsidized, directly or indirectly. We are told that in one case $1,500,000 was paid for a concession, and that "Tur kish officials, who have hitherto been the champion artists in backsheesh, leave off where Argentine blackmailers begin ; the price of a drainage scheme at Buenos Ayres would buy a whole cabinet of pashas at Galata." Railroads were built running from Buenos Ayres in different directions, as each province demanded a railroad, with little re gard to its population or business. A road was commenced to cross the Andes and open communi cation between the Atlantic and Pacific over mountains which had never been crossed by a carriage of any kind. The country was not settled so rapidly as the rulers desired. Inducements were therefore offered to immigrants. The passage money from Europe and the expenses of the immigrant to his new home have been paid and land for settlement sold at low rates. It is estimated that over 1,000,000 foreigners have settled in the country during the last twelve years, and the proportionate increase of population in the same period has been twice as great as that of the United States. Grazing lands have been sold at nominal prices to immigrants, or leased for terms of years in lots of 6,000 acres at a rental of $100 a year. Bonds were issued not only by the government but by the provinces, by the municipalities and by the railroads, and all were readily taken in England and Ger many. To enable the emigrants to pay for and to cultivate their land, the owner of real estate on depositing his title deeds with the hypothecary banks and having a valuation of his real estate, received cedulas, or bonds of the bank, for one-half its appraised value; these cedulas for large amounts were issued and sold in Europe ; and thus, as ever, more money was required, more bonds were issued. In 1889, a year of peace, the public debt was increased 120 per cent., and it is now said to be over one thousand four hundred millions of dollars, and the principal and interest of two-thirds of this amount is payable in gold at a premium of 200 per cent.
1891 Apr 1