While arguing with some other people at Astral Codex 10 about the merits of communist regimes that have actually existed, marxbro1917 started questioning whether famines are actually more common under them. I interjected by bringing up Amartya Sen, citing & quoting a paragraph of his on the subject. I begin quoting after that point, as the comments started becoming too nested to be readable.

marxbro1917: I just don’t find that convincing at all. Thousands of people die of hunger in India every year and they also went through at least one pretty intense famine after independence.

TGGP: Which famine after independence are you referring to? I don’t see any for India after 1943 here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines


Oh I was thinking of the 1970s drought in Maharashtra. It seems there is some ambiguity about the death toll. Wikipedia (the official source for everything, I guess) says zero deaths, which I find highly suspect considering how many children die of malnutrition in India every year, let alone in drought conditions. But I’m not gonna argue against wikipedia I guess.

Bangladesh in the 1970s might be a better example for you.

TGGP (no link, because it got nested enough for me to create this post): Amartya Sen himself uses Bangladesh in the 70s as one of his examples! See chapter 9 (page 139 of the pdf) here.