Hunger and Public Action (WIDER Studies in Development by Jean Drèze, Amartya Sen

By Jean Drèze, Amartya Sen

Reading the matter of starvation within the glossy international and the function public opinion may perhaps play in scuffling with it, Drèze and Sen right here supply a coherent viewpoint at the advanced dietary, fiscal, social, and political concerns fascinated with the research of starvation. They discover famine prevention via a sequence of case stories in Africa and in different places, and talk about the matter of persistent undernourishment. Sen used to be provided the second one Agnelli Prize for the moral size in complicated Societies in March 1990 in popularity of his notable contribution to the certainty of the moral size in smooth society.

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The Bengal famine of 1943, the Sahel famines of the 1970s, the Bangladesh famine of 1974, the Ethiopian famines of 1973-85, the Malawi (in fact, Nyasaland, as it was then 6 Exchange entitlement is, mathematically, a 'mapping', specifying for each endowment bundle a set of alternative commodity bundles any one of which a person can choose to acquire. ) and the empirical relevance of this analysis are discussed in Sen (1981a). An interpretational error to guard against, which seems to have occurred in a number of contributions examining this approach, is to see the analysis exclusively in terms of exchange entitlements rather than in the more general terms of entitlements as such—influenced by endowments as well as exchange entitlements.

As we shall argue in the next section, public action for social security is neither just a matter of state activity, nor an issue of charity, nor even one of kindly 24 On this see Mouton (1975), Gilbert (1976, 1981), Mesa-Lago (1978, 1983a, 1985c, 1986), Cockburn (1980), Mallet (1980), Guhan (1981, 1988), International Social Security Association (1982), Midgley (1984a, 19846), Abel-Smith (1986), Atkinson and Hills (1988), and various contributions in Ahmad, Dreze, Hills and Sen (1991). g. in ILO publications), are best seen as contingently relevant for social security in the broader sense.

G. 2 And that can result in serious deprivation—possibly even starvation death. In seeking a remedy to this problem of terrible vulnerability, it is natural to turn towards a reform of the legal system, so that rights of social security can be made to stand as guarantees of minimal protection and survival. 1 This chapter draws substantially on Poverty and Famines (Sen 198la), and those familiar with the arguments presented there may wish to shun it. 2 It is, of course, still possible for the person to survive on the basis of charity, but this is not a matter of right.

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