By Alexander Attilio Vadala –
This paper explores the extent to which human rights, democracy, and political contracts can be useful to provide the major explanations of – and prevention approaches to – famine in Ethiopia. The paper states that famine cannot be explained exclusively in terms of resource shortage, pointing that politics is no less important.
The paper demonstrates that in poor countries like Ethiopia, entitlement failures give an explanation as to why only some classes are affected by famine. For instance, there may be enough food at the national level, but still entitlement failures in some regions can cause famine. The paper argues that this is no natural disaster; it is a policy matter.
The paper states that in developing countries where famine is a threat, a functional multi-party democracy tends to ensure that famines do not occur. Yet, democracy by itself is not sufficient but it will render governments accountable by imposing a heavy political cost to failed famine prevention policies.
The paper concludes that:
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