The Political Economy of Moroccan Hunger

Stacy E. Holden

in The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033730
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039398 | DOI:
The Political Economy of Moroccan Hunger

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The socioeconomic connotations conveyed by the term “famine” changed dramatically in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The epicenter of starvation shifted from the city (its location in previous centuries) to the countryside, and rural migrants flocked to Fez when famine loomed. Such food crises, however, revealed a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The sultan ensured equitable distribution of wheat through tax collection, and his royal officials oversaw the price and quality of foodstuffs in the marketplace. Further, the sultan counted on the elite to sustain informal networks of patronage supplying food to the poor. Religious affiliation often defined the membership of these groupings, but food provisioning was their primary mission. This chapter demonstrates that the Alaouites forestalled unrest by providing the urban poor with wheat, even if it meant redistributing the wealth of influential Moroccans.

Keywords: Fez; wheat; food provisioning; starvation; Alaouites; tax collection

Chapter.  10424 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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