Famines do not occur in democracies because democracy prevents the entitlement failures that lead to famines. Famine prevention is contingent on political arrangements for entitlement protections such as re-allocation of food or the re-creation of the minimum level of incomes and entitlements needed by those who face entitlement failures (169). Democratically elected leaders have an incentive to create political arrangements to protect entitlements because in order to be reelected and retain power, they must cater to the needs of the citizens. The characteristics of a democracy that ensure entitlement protections are the multi-party system (ensures political rivalry), freedom of press (criticisms can be levied), and free elections (accountability to the people). very good Failure to prevent a famine will lead to significant political consequences for leaders who have to win elections and face public criticism. Therefore, they have an inc...
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...cing malnutrition, on the other hand, must adapt to such long term conditions of hunger in order to survive and therefore are less likely to fight as desperately for government protections. Because malnutrition is a long term problem, people lose the political will to change the conditions that allow it to continue and the media loses interest in the issue. Sen’s argument is not weakened because the problems of famine and malnutrition are inherently different and Sen doesn’t assert that democracy solves a protracted problem of hunger. It is also important to also note that in India, widespread corruption has impacted ration shops and other government institutions to fight hunger. Corruption on the lower bureaucratic levels of government is a serious problem in India and this could potentially contribute to the protraction of the country’s problems with malnutrition.
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