DOI: 10.12924/johs2018.14010005 |Publication Date: 7 May 2018

“Food Security” versus Cash Transfers: Comparative Analysis of Social Security Approaches in India and Brazil

Carter Vance
Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Abstract: Amongst Global South nations grappling with the problems of both food security and poverty relief, two of the largest are Brazil and India. Though the nations of course differ in a host of socioeconomic, cultural and geopolitical respects, they do face similar problems of sharp income inequality, displacement of rural populations into cities and increasing battles over land and agricultural ownership. At the same time, both countries have had, until recently, a long period of sustained economic growth, as well as centre-left governments (the Workers’ Party in the case of Brazil, the Indian National Congress in the case of India), attempting to spread the benefits of that growth to a wider social strata. The differential approaches that the social security systems in each nation took in attempting to address the problem of food security are, therefore, instructive in understanding how these questions should be approached on a policy level. Though of course constrained in each case by differing economic and political contexts, as well as path dependencies within each country’s existing social protection regime, there are lessons in their successes and failures. Moreover, an approach which would recognize the best aspects of each policy program could be instrumental in designing a food security policy which reconciles institutional and individual problem levels. This paper will examine the political logics which informed both approaches, with an eye to seeing how these were played out in their concrete effects as implemented.

Keywords: Food Security; India; Brazil; Basic Income; Welfare State


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