This chapter attempts to differentiate poverty from hunger, based on three elements: the notion of time, their determinants and the direction of change. The notion of poverty is separated from the notion of hunger, using the notion of time. Poverty based on a caloric intake below the required dietary allowance of 2,250, within small deficits, can allow survival, albeit with a high toll on the human body. So, the very nature of poverty is a long-run phenomenon. The notion of hunger, however, has to be a shorter-run phenomenon because hunger cannot persist into the longer run. Long-run hunger just leads to death. Axiomatically, the notion of hunger has to be a shorter-run one than the notion of poverty. The determinants of poverty and hunger are also theorised to be different. Poverty is determined by the primary distribution of income. This is given by household endowments, which increase gradually over time. The determinants of hunger and famines are theorised by Dreze and Sen (Hunger and public action, Clarendon Press, 1990) to be household entitlements. They argue that the 1943 Bengal famine and the 1972–1974 Wallo famine in Ethiopia were based not so much on loss of endowments, but on rising prices that stripped households’ entitlements to food. With different determinants between poverty and hunger, the direction of change in them can also vary. The direction of poverty should be a gradual reduction over time, barring force majeure black swan events. For sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the majority of countries have seen this reduction in poverty over time. Food prices and inflation, however, stripping household entitlements, can lead to hunger as a shorter-run phenomenon to increase over time—which is unfortunately observed for SSA in the shorter run.
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Mahmood, M. (2022). Vulnerabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Hunger and Prices. In: Growth, Jobs and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91574-2_5
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-91573-5
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-91574-2