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Slave Systems: Ancient and Modern (review)

Slave Systems: Ancient and Modern (review) Book Reviews cult for nonspecialists. For example, the reader who is unschooled in economics will not immediately grasp the meaning of "exchange entitlements," which, although they are the subject of an entire chapter, are not defined. (Ó Gráda's more general conclusion here --that there is a link between the integration of markets and the gradual elimination of famine over time --is certainly satisfying to this reviewer.) Likewise, the aforementioned discussion of Amartya Sen and the Bengali famine may be a bit too specialized for most general readers, though it will certainly be of interest to historians of South Asia and the British Empire. But these are just minor imperfections in what is otherwise a very fine book. So are famines becoming a thing of the past? Or in Ó Gráda's words, "Is it almost time to declare famine `history'?" (p. 2). There are reasons for tempered optimism. Famines have been on the decline worldwide, most notably in such famine-prone regions as India and China, and modern famines have been "far less murderous" than earlier ones (p. 97). Yet we can also see some notable exceptions to these developments. Some twentieth-century famines, linked to war and ideology more than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

Slave Systems: Ancient and Modern (review)

Journal of World History , Volume 21 (4) – Feb 3, 2010

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
ISSN
1527-8050
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Abstract

Book Reviews cult for nonspecialists. For example, the reader who is unschooled in economics will not immediately grasp the meaning of "exchange entitlements," which, although they are the subject of an entire chapter, are not defined. (Ó Gráda's more general conclusion here --that there is a link between the integration of markets and the gradual elimination of famine over time --is certainly satisfying to this reviewer.) Likewise, the aforementioned discussion of Amartya Sen and the Bengali famine may be a bit too specialized for most general readers, though it will certainly be of interest to historians of South Asia and the British Empire. But these are just minor imperfections in what is otherwise a very fine book. So are famines becoming a thing of the past? Or in Ó Gráda's words, "Is it almost time to declare famine `history'?" (p. 2). There are reasons for tempered optimism. Famines have been on the decline worldwide, most notably in such famine-prone regions as India and China, and modern famines have been "far less murderous" than earlier ones (p. 97). Yet we can also see some notable exceptions to these developments. Some twentieth-century famines, linked to war and ideology more than

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 3, 2010

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