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allotment of scarce supplies, usually by governmental decree, to provide equitable distribution. It may be employed also to conserve economic resources and to reinforce price and production controls. Originally used in community emergencies and in distributing supplies to sailors, rationing was first organized on a national scale in Great Britain during World War I, and during World War II it spread to most of the world. The methods used have varied according to the degree of rationing needed and to the products. Rationing methods include specific rationing, or allotment in terms of physical units; point rationing, the allotment of points (ration stamps) to be apportioned by the user among commodities of a given group; and value rationing, allotment in terms of expenditure. Rations may be allotted to individuals, institutions, and industrial users, or to communities, as in rural areas of undeveloped countries. In universal rationing, ration currency is issued to everyone in equal amounts; in differential rationing, the allocation is based on need and may vary according to occupation, age, sex, or health. In the so-called flow-back system, ration currency, usually distributed by the government to the consumer, moves upward from the consumer level to the manufacturer or processor as the product moves down. During World War II, rationing in the United States was administered by the Office of Price AdministrationOffice of Price Administration
(OPA), U.S. federal agency in World War II, established to prevent wartime inflation. The OPA issued (Apr., 1942) a general maximum-price regulation that made prices charged in Mar., 1942, the ceiling prices for most commodities.
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See W. A. Nielander, Wartime Food Rationing in the United States (1947).

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References in periodicals archive ?
HYDERABAD -- The Pakistan Army has so far dropped seven thousand tons of ration (food) through Helicopters for drought hit people in far flung and inaccessible areas of Tharparkar district.
What is clearly the major interest of the author and probably readers is the urgent need to ration CO2.
"The Council of Ministers has decided to provide food necessities in markets, instead of a food ration system, and provide citizens with an amount of money every month," said the PM.
They studied the benefits of ration cards and ways to implement the system.
RATIONS: The introduction of bread rationing in 1946, left, a food ration coupon book used between 1940 and 1954, below, and a joint of meat, below left, which was to supply eight weekly rations.
Reinhardt (2009), however, asserts that prices also ration scarce resources, such that free markets are not an alternative to rationing but rather a particular form of rationing.
Around 45 million ration books containing food coupons had been distributed throughout Britain in time for the start of rationing with 125,000 distributed in Huddersfield.
20 -- The Karnataka Government's latest initiative to link ration cards with LPG supply has left the general public in the State puzzled and angry.
A monthly ration of 500 liters of semi-subsidized gasoline has also been considered for the purpose.
Cuba has cut two staple foods from the monthly ration books that most Cubans depend on, edging closer to a risky full elimination of the decades-old subsidies, the Associated Press reported Nov.
Under house arrest for the best part of two decades, the country's brutal dictators effectively ration everything in her life.
A special celebration was held in London's Trafalgar Square by members of the London Housewives Association and the Minister of Fuel and Power, Geoffrey Lloyd, burned a large replica of a ration book.