3.8 Famine.pdf

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Department
International Development
Course
INTD 200
Professor
Warren Allmand
Semester
Fall

Description
3.8 Famine 12/5/12 1:21 AM ‘Famine’ can be defined as a widespread and protracted disruption in access to food, which will result in acute malnutrition and mass mortality unless alternative sources of food are available. Historical Famine Trajectories • Pre 20 thcentury: triggered by natural disasters o Vulnerable: weak markets, underdevelopment, undiversified livelihoods, no food aid th • 19 century: reduced famine due to o increased transportation o integrated societies o nation-states • De-colonization o India: strengthened political accountability for famine prevention; improved food production o Africa: “war famines”, political instability Theories of Famine 1. Malthusianism • Thomas Malthus • 1790s • Population will eventually exceed global production capability • Famine intervenes to regulate population 2. Economics and Sen’s Entitlement Approach • A person’s entitlement to food derives from four sources: production, trade, labour, gifts • Famine is determined by failures of access to food • Poverty and market failures 3. Politics: Famine as ‘act of man’ • Famines affect people who are politically and economically marginalized • Famines are related to lack of democracy o Free, vigilant press o Free and fair elections • ‘Anti-famine contract’ • The role of aid donors o Food aid as a political weapon War and ‘Complex Political Emergencies’ • Famines as a war tactic • Can also be created as an unintended consequence of conflict • Conflicts disrupt agricultural production • War undermines food marketing • Relief interventions are undermined by logistical constraints and security risks Future Famines • Less widespread and less severe • Exacerbated by: o Flawed processes of economic liberalization and political democratization o Rising prevalence of HIV/AIDS o Problematic relationships between national governments and international donors • Caused by failures of: o The weather o ‘coping strategies’ o markets o local politics o notional governments o the international community • All famines are fundamentally political Famines and Other Crises 12/5/12 1:21 AM Causation of Famines • The substantive freedom of the individual and the family to establish ownership over an adequate amount of food o Growing it themselves o Buying it on the market • A person may be forced into starvation due to inability to buy food • Even when food supply in a country falls sharply, everyone can be saved through better distribution of food The focus should be on economic power and freedom of individuals to buy enough food. Entitlement and Interdependence • Undernourishment, starvation and famine are influenced by the working of the entire economy and society • Economic and social interdependences • Food has to be earned • “entitlement”: the commodities over which she can establish her ownership and command • What determines entitlement? o Endowment: the ownership over productive resources as well as wealth that commands a price in the market § Labour power, land, other resources o Production possibilities and their use: available technologies o Exchange Conditions: the ability to sell and buy goods and the determination of relative prices of different products § Operation of labour markets § Can change drastically in an economic emergency • Distributional change • Interdependencies must be noted because the loss of certain parts of the flow will lead to loss in other parts of the flow Famine Causation • For those who do not produce food: o Economic circumstance o Employment o Wage rates o Production of other commodities o Market prices • For those who do produce food o Their entitlements depend on their livelihood o May have to sell more expensive goods for cheaper goods • Shifting patterns of consumption • Unemployment • Famine can occur when no change in fo
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