By D. Gale Johnson
Publication via Johnson, D. Gale, Hemmi, Kenzo, Lardinois, Pierre
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Additional resources for Agricultural Policy & Trade: Adjusting Domestic Programs in an International Framework
313). Using unpublished data from a sample survey undertaken by the Indian Statistical Institute, he conluded that, while mortality rose in 1943 in all age and sex categories, it was very unevenly distributed among those categories, with no simple pattern to the increases. Females experienced smaller increases, on the whole, in nearly every category. The most famine-affected category comprised males 50 years and older; the least affected category for both sexes was the age group 20-30 years. Women in the childbearing ages reaped a real advantage from the famine: their chances of survival rose as the birth rate fell.
Schooling in China in the nineteenth century had to be paid for by the individual family; often, that family would make considerable sacrifices to ensure at least one child received an education. During the famine of 1876-79, Tseng Kuo-ch'uan, the governor of Shanxi and an energetic relief administrator, reported to the court that the famine had severely disrupted education in the province. Schools were closed; students preparing for the provincial examination to be held in 1878 were forced to discontinue their studies.
With such prices, savings, if any, were quickly wiped out. If a peasant did not have land to put up as security for a loan (and less than half the farmers of Guangdong did), he either grew sweet potatoes (if possible) or fled to the city on the slim hope of finding work there, or he stayed and died. In the provincewide famines of 1726-27 and 1786-87 there was no sanctuary to flee to and one suspects that enormous numbers of people starved' (Perkins, 1969, p. 164). Given that the majority of famines in China appear to have been comparatively small-scale, and caused by a local natural disaster, and given the country's size and poverty, a policy which could mitigate the effects of this majority of incidents may have been not unreasonable.