rationing

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rationing,

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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Bibliography

See W. A. Nielander, Wartime Food Rationing in the United States (1947).

References in classic literature ?
Alexander Smollett, master; David Livesey, ship's doctor; Abraham Gray, carpenter's mate; John Trelawney, owner; John Hunter and Richard Joyce, owner's servants, landsmen--being all that is left faithful of the ship's company--with stores for ten days at short rations, came ashore this day and flew British colours on the log-house in Treasure Island.
Within little more than an hour rations had been served out and devoured, the divisions were formed, the scheme of onslaught was explained to the leaders, and the whole force, numbering about 18,000 men, was ready to move, with the exception of a guard left in charge of the wounded.
In two well-closed coffers, placed beneath the benches of the prow and the poop, Aramis found bread, biscuit, dried fruits, a quarter of bacon, a good provision of water in leathern bottles; the whole forming rations sufficient for people who did not mean to quit the coast, and would be able to revictual, if necessity commanded.
Life in the high air was giving him an appalling appetite, and it seemed to him discreet at this stage to portion out his supply into rations.
When the animals entered the Ark in pairs, one may imagine that allied species made much private remark on each other, and were tempted to think that so many forms feeding on the same store of fodder were eminently superfluous, as tending to diminish the rations.
Hastily she ate a few mouthfuls of her precious rations, which with a swallow of water constituted her breakfast.
The fruit, which ranks high in food value, is one of the staple foods of the less well-to-do, and because of its cheapness and nutritive value forms one of the principal rations of both armies and navies upon Barsoom, a use which has won for it a Martian sobriquet which, freely translated into English, would be, The Fighting Potato.
The narrow table was unfolded; the four stools were set out; and for the first time in days we sat down to eat, and for the first time in weeks we had something to eat other than the monotony of the short rations of an impoverished U-boat.
Nobody else seemed to have much appetite, save Dora, who tucked away her rations comfortably.
O let us love our occupations, Bless the squire and his relations, Live upon our daily rations, And always know our proper stations,
It's true, you generally bring me the worst soup, and the most miserable rations one can imagine.
The soldiers now received their rations from the confiscated provisions, and they received them first.