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BRAZIL

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 709 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BRAZIL.* 5 — 100 Sen= I Yen. 20 Yen piece. . Gold 16'666 900'0 1'0 '2 2 I o 9 97 moo Reis 20 Milreis piece. Gold 17'929 916'6 2 4 10'2 10 91 10 . . „ 8'333 900'0 1'0 '3 I o 6 4 98 = 1 Milrei. ro „ „ 8'964 916'6 — — 1 2 5 5 45 5 „ • . ++ 4166 900'0 Yo '4 o lo 3 2 49 2 „ Silver 25'500 916'6 0 4 5 I 9 5o Sen „ . Silver 13'478 800'0 3'0 '35 0 I 01 0 25 1 „ „ 12'25o 916'6 o 2 21 o 55 20 „ ++ 6'391 800'0 3'0 '5 e o 5 0 10 Is +, •• 6.375 916'6 — — o I I o 27 10 2'695 Soo'o 3'0 '6 0 0 2-'2 0 5 * Inconvertible paper currency. I Until 1906 there was no mint in Canada. English and American coins circulate. The standard is gold (1 =4.866 dollars). There were formerly different methods of counting, viz. English sterling, Halifax currency and Canadian sterling; the respective ratios being Too: 120: 108. 2 The Mexican currency has been entirely altered in its standard by the legislation of 1905. The gold-exchange system has been brought into force. The old-established dollar, which is called piastre, is reduced so as to represent a ratio of about 33.1. 3 The dollar was introduced in 1787 as the unit. In 1792 the ratio of gold to silver was fixed at 1 to 15. This valuation under-rated gold, consequently silver became the standard. In 1834 the ratio was altered to 1 to 16, and it was again changed in 1837. In these changes gold was overrated, and silver was driven out of circulation. This led, in 1853, to the reduction of the metal in the silver coins, which therefore became a token-currency. The suspension of cash payments took place in 1861. In 1873 silver was demonetized, and gold became the standard. In 1878 the " Bland Bill " was passed, making the silver dollar a legal tender, but confining its coinage to the executive, and fixing the amount at from two to four million dollars per month. The difficulties that resulted from this measure led to the Sherman Act of 1890, providing for the coinage of silver to the annual amount of 54,000,000 oz. Owing to the critical situation created by these efforts to aid silver, the repeal of the Sherman Act was carried in 1893. Since then the chief problem has been to maintain an effective gold reserve. ' The Argentine currency is, in practice, one of inconvertible paper. The gold coins were altered in 1881. The old South American onza weighed 27 grammes, was 875 fine and worth 3, 4s. 6d. 5 The Brazilian currency is greatly depreciated. It is derived from the Portuguese. 6 The Chilean coinage was reformed in 1895, when the gold standard was adopted, and the system brought into relation to the English one. Two Chilean Condors (20 peso pieces) being equal to f In 1904 Colombia adopted the gold standard by taking the equivalent of the U.S. dollar as the unit; but the inconvertible paper is the main currency; and the old coins pass as commercial money. 8 After attempting a parity with the Latin union, and passing through a period of inconvertible paper, Peru has adopted the English gold standard and coinage, but keeps her own silver denominations. 9 The silver standard was prescribed in India in 1835, with the use of the gold mohurs. The latter was demonetized in 1853. In consequence of the fall in the gold value of silver, the Indian mints were closed to the coinage of silver, otherwise than by the government, in 1893. The amount of currency was so limited as to bring the rupee to the value of Is. 4d. On the realization of this position, English sovereigns were made legal tender at the ratio of 15 rupees = 1 sovereign. India has, by these measures joined the class, now becoming numerous, of gold-exchange standard countries. Io The old Japanese currency consisted of gold cobangs and silver itzibus, with a ratio of 4 to 1. This antique system was replaced in 1871 by a double-standard one on the French plan, the ratio being 16.17: IT. The system passed first into one of silver monometallism; and then became one of inconvertible paper. The great reform of 1897, aided by the Chinese War indemnity, placed the currency on the gold basis. few countries that has not found change desirable. France has reorganized her token coins (1864), entered into the Latin union (1865) and adopted the limping standard in 1874. Germany has completely transformed the monetary system hitherto existing in the German States (1873). The Scandinavian union has been set up (1875). Holland has changed her system more than once. Still later, Austria-Hungary (1892) and Russia (1897) have come over from the silver standard with the practical use of inconvertible paper to new currencies on the gold basis. In America the United States, after a series of monetary experiences, has made the gold dollar its standard unit, though the silver complication still exists. Mexico has succeeded in establishing a gold-exchange standard at such a ratio as to induce the import of gold. British India has had its rupee currency put into relation to the English gold unit, and has been followed by the Straits Settlements. Japan first abandoned its ancient currency (1871). It then adopted a double standard system which became in practice a silver one and later passed into inconvertible paper. Finally, it has (1897) established a composite legal tender system on the gold basis. The Dutch Indies have the gold-exchange standard on the same plan as British India. Remarks.—In addition to the tabular statements, the following points respecting the currencies of less advanced countries may be Indicated. Though there is a tendency to establish the money of the mother-country in colonies, some of the British possessions, acquired by conquest, have kept their former currency. There has been a widespread movement in the backward countries of the world towards reforming their money; chiefly by setting up some line of connexion with the gold standard. In South and Central America the dollar has been retained as the unit; but the movement for co-ordination with the French system has ceased. The English standard has been preferred as a model by Chile and Peru. In Asia the currency of the Philippines has been reorganized under American control. China is considering monetary reform, and Siam has made progress in the direction of the gold-exchange standard. Probably the most defective currencies are now those of Turkey and her tributary states. I. Economic text-books: English and American—J. S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy (London, 1848; new ed. by Ashley, 1909); Sidgwick, Principles of Political Economy (London, 1883; 3rd ed., 1901); J. S. Nicholson, Principles of Political Economy (3 vols., London, 1893–1901); F. A. Walker, Political Economy (New York, 1883; 2nd ed., 1887, often reprinted); A. T. Hadley, Economics (New York, 1896) ; E. R. A. Seligman, Principles of Economics (New York, 1905) ; H. R. Seager, Introduction to Economics (New York, 1904; 3rd ed., 1908). French: M. Chevalier, Cours d'economie politique (vol. iii. " La Monnaie," Paris, 185o) ; P. Leroy-Beaulieu, Traite d'economie politique (4 vols., Paris, 1896) ; C. Gide, Cours d'economie politique (Paris, 1909). German: H. Mangoldt, Grundriss der Volkswirtschaftslehre (2nd ed., Stuttgart. 1871); G. Schonberg, Handbuch der politischen Oeconomie (Tubingen, 1882; 4th ed., 1904) ; G. Schmoller, Grundriss der allgemeinen .Volkswirtschaftslehre (Leipzig, 1900–1904). The Dutch work by N. G. Pierson has been translated into English with the title Principles of Economics (London, 1902). II. Special treatises on " Money ": W. S. Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (London, 1875) ; F. A. Walker, Money (New York, 1878) ; J. S. Nicholson, Money and Monetary Problems (London, 1888 ; 6th ed., 1902) ; C. A. Conant, The Principles of Money and Banking (2 vols., New York, 1905) ; A. Arna.une, La Monnaie, le credit et le change (Paris, 1894; 2nd ed., 1902); A. de Foville, La Monnaie (Paris, 1907) ; C. Knies, Geld and Kredit (Berlin, 1873–1879) ; G. F. Knapp, Staatliche Theorie des Geldes (Leipzig, 1905). MONEY-LENDING, the lending of money on usury (q.v.). The business of the professional money-lender is one which, astyranny and abuse are likely to appear, all countries have at different times endeavoured to regulate. In England the lessons of experience have shown that the abuses of this business are best regulated by a system of registration coupled with relief to debtors against harsh and unconscionable bargains. Other countries however still appear to cling to the belief that it is wisest to fix a maximum rate of legal interest. Thus in Germany the commercial code fixes the legal rate of interest on commercial transactions at 5 %. Moreover in that country traders can demand interest on commercial debts from the day on which the debts fall due. In France, again, the Code fixes the rate of interest on ordinary loans at 5%, and on commercial trans-actions at 6%. In the United States of America the law relating to the lending of money on usury varies in the different states. All the states have what is called a " legal rate " of interest; and when no rate of interest is specified in the contract between the parties, there is a presumption that the borrower has agreed to pay the legal rate. This legal rate varies from 5% in Louisiana to 8% in Wyoming; in the Eastern states it is generally 6%. Some of the states have usury laws giving relief to borrowers in cases where circumstances have compelled them to agree to extortionate rates; but other states have no such laws, except that a contract in writing is invariably required in all cases where the " legal rate " is exceeded. Practically every form of investment in which a man is capable of indulging involves the lending and borrowing of money, the interest exacted being the profit which the lender receives for the use of his capital. The existence of the professional lender, as apart from the ordinary facilities for borrowing money on good security, is obviously due to the fact that it is not every borrower who is in a position to give good security for a loan. Where the security is bad the market is narrowed; the individuals who are prepared to lend the money on merely personal security require a high rate of interest. The first people to practise the profession of money-lending in England regularly were the Jews, and the business has remained largely in their hands, though they are in the habit of trading under assumed names. The Norman and Angevin kings were fully alive to the advantages which accrued to the people through borrowing at usuryfrom the Jews, but they were also alive to the advantages which they themselves were able to reap by extorting from the Jews the wealth which the latter had acquired from the people. The Jews were regarded as the king's serfs, and squeezing them was but a popular form of taxing the people. Indeed in the reign of Henry II. the Scaccarium Judaeorum was established as a separate branch of the exchequer and used for the purpose of filling the royal coffers. The English people on the other hand were not so prone to foster the money-lending business. Sections io and 11 of Magna Carta provided that when a person died owing money to a Jew no interest should accrue during the minority of the heir, and further that the widow should be entitled to her dower, and any children who were minors should be provided with necessaries before the repayment of the loan. Then followed a large number of statutes known generally as the Usury Laws (see also USURY). The first of these was passed in 1235 (20 Hen. III. c. 5). The acts were directed to restrain the lending of money at usurious rates. The earlier ones in some cases prohibited the lending of money on usury at all, as in a statute of Jewry of the reign of Edward I.; but the later statutes were chiefly confined to limiting the rate of interest. Thus 21 Jac. I. c. 17 declared void all contracts where the interest was more than 8%. In 1818 a select committee of the House of Commons was appointed to consider the Usury Laws and in 1841 a similar committee of the House of Lords was appointed. As a result an act was passed in 1854 (17 & 18 Viet. c. 90) whereby all the existing laws against usury were repealed. The question whether any interest is payable or not, and also the amount of such interest, depends on whether the parties to the transaction have expressly or impliedly agreed to the payment of interest by the borrower; for apart from such agreement no interest can lawfully be demanded on a loan. Although in general there is no limit on the amount of interest which a borrower may agree to pay, equity has always been ready to grant relief from unconscionable bargains. This equitable relief is still available, though it is not so wide as the relief now given to borrowers under the Money-lenders Act 1900. This act provides that where proceedings are taken in any court by a money-lender for the recovery of money lent, and there is evidence which satisfies the court that the interest charged on the loan, or the amounts charged for expenses, inquiries, fines, bonus, premium, renewals, &c., are excessive, and that in either case the transaction is harsh and unconscionable, or is otherwise such that a court of equity would grant relief, the court may reopen the transaction and take an account between the money-lender and the person sued, and may, notwithstanding any statement or settlement of account or any agreement purporting to close previous dealings and create a new obligation, reopen any account already taken between them and relieve the person sued from payment of any sum in excess of the sum adjudged by the court to be fairly due in respect of such principal, interest and charges as the court, having regard to the risk and all the circumstances, may adjudge to be reasonable. The Money-lenders Act of 1900 was passed in consequence of grave abuses which had arisen. It had been the practice of a certain class of lender to trade under a variety of names; so that under one name the same individual would lend money to a person who borrowed from him under another name; the second loan would be spent in liquidating the first, and the borrower finding it always easy to obtain more money would continue borrowing until he became hopelessly involved. The act struck at the root of this pernicious system by providing that every money-lender, as defined by the act, must register himself as such, under his own or usual trade name, and in no other name, and with the address, or all the addresses if more than one, at which he carries on his business of a money-lender. If a money-lender fails to register himself, or if he carries on a money-lending business otherwise than in his registered name, or in more names than one, or elsewhere than at his registered address, he is liable on summary conviction to a fine, not exceeding one hundred pounds. For the purposes of the act " money-lender " is defined as including every person whose business is that of money-lending, but it does not include pawnbrokers, in respect of business carried on by them under the Pawnbrokers Act, Registered Friendly, Loan or Building Societies, coporate bodies incorporated or empowered by special act of parliament to lend money, persons bona fide carrying on the business of banking or insurance, or bona fide carrying on any business not having for its primary object the lending of money, or bodies corporate for the time being exempted from registration by order of the Board of Trade. The act is not confined to providing for the registration of money-lenders and for the reopening of harsh and unconscionable bargains. A check is placed on false representations and promises made with the intention of inducing a borrower to enter into a loan transaction. If any money-lender, or any manager, agent or clerk of a money-lender, or any person being a director, manager or other officer of a corporation carrying on the business of a money-lender, by any false, misleading or deceptive statement, representation or promise, or by any dishonest concealment of material facts, fraudulently induces, or attempts to induce, any person to borrow money or to agree to the terms on which money is to be borrowed, he is declared by the act to be guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable on indictment to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds, or to both. The act further provides that if any one for the purpose of earning interest, commission, reward or other profit sends or causes to be sent to a person whom he knows to be an infant any circular or other document which invites the person receiving it to borrow money or to apply to any person or at any place with a view to obtaining information or advice as to borrowing money, he shall be liable, if convicted on indictment, to imprisonment with or without hard labour, or to a fine, or to both imprisonment and fine. If any such circular or document sent to an infant purports to issue from any address named therein or indicates any address as the place at which application is to be made with reference to the subject matter of the document, and at that place there is carried on any business connected with loans, every person who attends such place for the purpose of taking part in or assisting in the709 carrying on of such business will be deemed to have sent or caused to be sent such circular or document, unless he proves that he was not in any way a party to and was wholly ignorant of the sending of such document. Moreover, by section 5 of the Money-lenders Act 1900, where any proceedings are taken against the senders of these circulars to infants, if it is proved that the person to whom the document was sent is an infant, the person charged will be deemed to have been cognisant of the fact unless he proves that he had reasonable grounds for believing the infant to be of full age. Under the act of 1892 this shifting of the burden of proof only occurred if the circular had been sent to any person at any university, college, school or other place of education. As for the recovery of money lent; if the loan is not tainted with illegality or immorality, or made for a purpose contrary to public policy, the amount may be recovered by a common law action. Where an intending borrower breaks his agreement to borrow, specific performance will not be granted, and the damages recover-able must be measured by the loss sustained through the breach and not by the sum agreed to be lent (The South African Territories, Limited v. Wallington (1897), I Q.B. 692).
End of Article: BRAZIL
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