famine

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famine

widespread food shortages leading to starvation and a high death rate within a given population. During a famine people die not only of hunger but from a variety of diseases to which they become increasingly vulnerable. Sen (1981) has argued that starvation arises from the condition of people not having enough to eat, and not as a result of there not being enough food to eat. Famine generally occurs when there is a sudden collapse of the level of food consumption, rather than as the result of a longterm decline, and people die because of the lack of time available to counteract the factors that lead to low consumption. It rarely occurs that a population is without any food (the Netherlands under German occupation during World War II may be one example), rather, Sen argues that it is changes in people's entitlement to food which is altered. Thus famine is linked to the distribution as well as the production of food, and the vulnerability of some groups, rather than others, within a population. Historically, famine has been precipitated by events such as serious floods or pestilence, but in the 20th-century major famines have been closely associated with warfare, as with Ethiopia and Mozambique in the 1970s and 80s, or with profound political upheavals, as with the consolidation of Stalinism in the 1930s in the USSR, and Maoism in China in the late 1950s. In all of these cases, however, only some social groups lost their entitlement to food, whilst others retained theirs or acquired new ones.
References in classic literature ?
Bankruptcy, social collapse, famine, and pestilence had done nothing to damage these, and it was only to the great capitals and ganglionic centres, as it were, of this State, that positive destruction had come.
He takes as his harrowing sample 58 major famines between 1870 and 2010 and, in a distressing number of cases, political beastliness carries much of the responsibility for tragedy.
Variation in the causes and effects of famines have an impact on how different disciplines study and identify famine.
Seeing Ireland as "an island that had lived through / two famines," McGuckian envisions a unity in island geography but also in shared history, connecting the Famine to more recent political crises, particularly to the hunger strikes of the 1980s.
Indeed, famines occurred only when his principle of population was not doing its work as an equilibrating mechanism.
This collection of essays examines historical and contemporary issues surrounding famines, looking at intertwining political and economic factors contributing to famine and the potential of famines to reveal the dark side of human nature.
While the Great Famine (1959-61) is one of many famines throughout China's history, this does not undermine its significance in China's modern history.
Its concerns and subject matter reflect the mood of that time as does the inclusion of a section comparing the Irish Famine with contemporary famines, which was a topical issue in the late 1990s.
Researchers claim that this has been one of the worst famines in the past 25 years.
Reacting to the study's findings, Senait Gebregziabher, the country director of the British charity Oxfam, said famines "are not natural phenomena, they are catastrophic political failures.
1) Although much of Ganson's study delineates the regime's brutal policies on postwar food production, he cautions against the assumption that the famines of the 1930s and 1940s fit the same model.