Democracy and Famine
Routledge – 2011 – 224 pages
Famine is the most extreme manifestation of the existence of poverty, inequality and political apathy. Whereas poverty, hunger and diseases are not easily eradicated in the world today, famines are often perceived to be relatively simple to avert. However, the political incentives to prevent famines are not always present.
Inspired by the work of Amartya Sen, whose influential hypothesis that democratic institutions together with a free press provide effective protection from famine, Democracy and Famine is a study combining qualitative and quantitative evidence, analysing the effect of democracy on famine prevention. The book’s overall framework moves from placing political systems at the heart of famine protection to look at the political processes involved.
Using a case study based approach drawing on famines from India, Malawi and Niger; Democracy and Famine will be of interest to scholars and students of democracy, comparative politics and international relations.
1. Introduction 2. Presentation of Sen’s Theory of Democracy and Famine 3. Conceptualization and Operationalisation of Democracy 4. Discussion of Sen’s Understanding of Democracy 5. Famines in Bangladesh, Sudan and India 6. The Malawi Famine of 2002 7. The Niger Famine of 2005 8. Democracy and Famine – Quantitative Evidence 9. Multiple Starvation Deaths in India 10. Discussion of Other Macro-Level Causal Approaches 11. Counterproductive Democratic Mechanisms 12. Conclusion
Olivier Rubin is an assistant Professor at Global Studies, Roskilde University.