Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Toxic famine research and how it suppresses its critics

Bowbrick, Peter (2020): Toxic famine research and how it suppresses its critics.

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Abstract

Bad economic theory can cause famines or stop governments from taking appropriate action to prevent famines. This can kill millions. Amartya Sen’s theory of the cause of the Bengal Famine, which is the inspiration for his ‘entitlement approach’, has been refuted again and again, in different ways, by economists of different theoretical persuasions and by statisticians expert in this area. Sen has been shown to systematically misrepresent the evidence, to make repeated, elementary, theoretical mistakes, and to use and misuse ‘meaningless’ statistics. No attempt has been made by anyone to challenge these refutations: they are incontrovertible. Sen has not retracted his theory, or any of it, which implies fraud. Yet Sen’s work is widely believed and used in famine situations. His ‘entitlement approach’, based largely on his theory of the Bengal famine, is the basis of a research programme. This paper examines how the research programme suppressed the criticisms, ignoring the normal requirements of academic and professional research and integrity. It also produced new falsehoods.

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