Chapter

The Great Bengal Famine

Amartya Sen

in Poverty and Famines

Published in print January 1983 | ISBN: 9780198284635
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596902 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198284632.003.0006
 The Great Bengal Famine

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A case study of the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, which had a reported death toll of about 1.5 million. An explanation for the famine is analysed in terms of the most common approach used—food availability decline (FAD), and this is rejected for various reasons. Analyses are next made in terms of exchange entitlements and the causes of the sharp movements of these, and of the class basis of the destitution. The last part of the chapter discusses the role of theory in the failure of the official policy for tackling the famine.

Keywords: Bengal; case studies; exchange entitlements; famine; famine policy; food availability decline; Great Bengal Famine; social class; social status

Chapter.  12614 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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