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From famine to food crisis. What history can teach us about local and global subsistence crises

  • Vanhaute, Eric

The range of famine prone regions in the world has been shrinking for centuries; it’s currently mainly limited to sub-Sahara Africa. Yet the impact of endemic hunger has not declined and the early 21st century seems to be faced with a new threat: global subsistence crises. In this essay I question the concepts of famine and food crisis. I will formulate some suggestions to understand these seemingly unrelated processes in a more integrated way. The article successively debates historical famine research, Europe’s ‘grand escape’ from hunger, past and contemporary ‘depeasantisation’, and the state of 21st century food systems. Only more integrated models of interpretation can supersede the dualistic histories of food and famine that have been dominating developmentalist stories for so long.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17630.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17630
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  1. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
  2. Robert W. Fogel, 1989. "Second Thoughts on the European Escape from Hunger: Famines, Price Elasticities, Entitlements, Chronic Malnutrition, and Mortality Rates," NBER Historical Working Papers 0001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas Plümper & Eric Neumayer, 2007. "Famine mortality, rational political inactivity, and international food aid," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25169, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Cormac Ó Gráda & Eric Vanhaute & Richard Paping, 2006. "The European subsistence crisis of 1845-1850 : a comparative perspective," Working Papers 200609, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  5. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Famines and economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1693, The World Bank.
  6. Vanhaute, Eric, 2008. "The End of Peasantries? Rethinking the Role of Peasantries in a World-Historical View," MPRA Paper 13291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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