FAMINE AND MARKET IN ANCIEN RÃ‰GIME FRANCE
GrÃ¡da, Cormac Ã“ and
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Cormac Ó Gráda ()
The Journal of Economic History, 2002, vol. 62, issue 3, 706-733
Howâ€”and how wellâ€”do food markets function in famine conditions? The controversy surrounding this question may benefit from historical perspective. Here we study two massive famines that struck France between 1693 and 1710, killing over two million people. In both cases the impact of harvest failure was exacerbated by wartime demands on the food supply; we ask whether the crises were exacerbated yet further by a failure of markets to function as they did in normal times. The evidence, we conclude, is most consistent with the view that markets in fact helped alleviate these crises, albeit modestly.Aujourd'hui ces matiÃ¨res paraissent d'une telle ariditÃ© qu'elles provoquent le vide, mÃªme au sein du parlement, si par hasard on les y discuteâ€¦On ne voit plus des Ã©carts de prix comparables Ã ceux des grandes annÃ©es de famine de la fin du rÃ¨gne de Louis XIV: 1693 et 1709.Germain Martin (French historian) in 1908[Today these issues seem so stupifyingly dull that they produce an empty house, even in parliament, if by chance they are discussed thereâ€¦. One no longer sees gaps in prices comparable to those of the years of famine at the end of the reign of Louis XIV, in 1693 and 1709.] Martin, â€œFamines,â€ p. 150.
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