Under the influence of migration and financial crises, we are experiencing a renaissance of rationing—the limited dispensation of goods and services that are not paid for with money. In Germany too the “refugee crisis” has put “cashless billing” (vouchers or food packages) back on the agenda. This has occasioned a theoretical review of the principles and problems associated with this form of distribution. Rationing, with all its fantasies of planning and control, has a life of its own that is making a comeback and has largely escaped our attention. It has been used not only in state socialism but also in the creation of Israel and Cuba; in the war economies of Austria and Denmark; in the Soviet gulag and in the Argentinian financial crisis; in disaster relief, in Jordanian refugee camps, and in the reception centres for asylum seekers.
Hendrik Blumentrath, Anna Echterhölter, et al. (eds.)