Famine Theory Essay

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E Does Amartya Sen’s entitlement theory of famines cover all the possible causes of famines? If not, explain other theories that explain the various reasons leading to famine? Understanding the numerous causes of famine and its affects has always been very complex in nature .There have been numerous critical and extensive debates on various views given by scholars and researchers. In the past, the root cause of famines was attributed to natural disasters that usually led to crop failure resulting in food availability decline (Devereux, 2000) .Now in the 21st century there are various human economic relations, social structures and political actions that interrelate to restrict access to food and deny their basic right to a certain section of the society in a country which triggers famine (Tauger, 2003). Amartya Sen defines Famine as "a particularly virulent manifestation of starvation causing widespread death". (Sen, 1981 in Rangasami 1985:1747) By means of the entitlement approach that he formulated focused on effective demand failure as an indicator of famine. Sen then argued that “entitlement collapse” restrained a person from attaining food which had led to starvation (Sen, 1981). The first section of the essay will explain what the exchange entitlement is all about and how useful it is in analysing famine. The next section will explore the critical drawbacks of the theory which will convey the various facets of famine that have been destroying the world even today. EXCHANGE ENTITLEMENT THEORY Most of the deadly famines that have occurred were usually not due to the decrease in food availability but were indeed a function of the entitlement set a person held. Starvation was a process which certainly started when there was a change in the ownership patterns and exchange entitlements of commodities. A person can obtain adequate food through what he was
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