View Full Version : Have Any of Your Countries Practised Rationing Before?

30-10-2011, 02:20 PM
My parents told me that China used to enforce rationing on almost all necessities, from food to clothes to even goods like bicycles, watches (yeah, the portable time measuring device you are wearing), household electrical appliance, and so on. And at that age even cigarettes were considered luxuries and supplies were very restricted.

Even if you have the enough money, you need corresponding stamps to buy the goods. For instance, if you eat out, dishes would be priced in cash, but rice would be "priced" in stamps. Try to think of rice as bread in western meals, so it is always presumed that to have a meal in a restaurant in China you have to consume at least one bowl of rice per head. If you dont have enough rice stamp to buy that bowl of rice, no restaurant would be allowed to do business with you. It was a national policy everyone had to comply in that era.

My parents showed me some of the food stamps they collected. Those are actually very rare, considering the fact each family would receive just enough to support daily life, not much surplus to speak of. Yet they keep those stamps, and hope that this generation would learn from the age of shortage.

So does any of your countries in the 20 century, the century probably most of us (including me) were born in, had rationing, especially after World War 2? No I am not talking about those living under social welfare support. I am talking about rationing which was enforced nation wide. For people like me who can afford video games, I can hardly imagine such experience, and hope that our societies will never have to experience such hardship again.

30-10-2011, 02:38 PM
Britain had rationing just after the war if my folks are to be believed.

30-10-2011, 03:13 PM
Britain had some basic rationing late in the first world war, and from the start of the second world war up to the mid 1950s on some substances

30-10-2011, 03:41 PM
Not sure about WW1 but we had rationing of some things during the latter half of WW2. My grandmother showed me some food stamps she'd saved when I was little and I remember thinking it was a strange thing back then. As I understood it there was never any real shortages though and rationing was mostly for imported things like coffee and fruit. Not actually being in either war helped, of course.

30-10-2011, 06:09 PM
Short answer: Not like China, but then you have four times the people and a developing economy.

Also short answer: Yes, during the Depression and WW2, but still rich compared to European standards.

30-10-2011, 09:29 PM
In early eighties during martial law Poland introduced stamps for various products

31-10-2011, 11:21 AM
So I see that some of developed countries also experienced rationing in the last century, but seems that most were during extreme situation, like wartime, recovery from war and martial law.

According to my parents China practised rationing from 1950s to 1970s. Their information may not be 100% accurate as according to some readings, rationing lasted till mid 1990s for some regions. But I can safely assume that rationing was ceased for the whole coastal region by early 1980s.

03-11-2011, 12:59 PM
Norway had some rationing during WW1, as up through the ages Norway has been dependant on importing grain, as the arable land (sp?) has never been enough to feed the Norwegian population.

During WW2 and 6 years after it, rationing was enforced. Norwegian imports halted during Nazi occupation and luxury goods were hard to come by and essential foodstuffs was strictly rationed. This actually led to Norwegians having to manage themselves more and many grew potatoes, carrots and other vegetables in their gardens, to supplement the flour (of bad quality) and meat/fish they got rationed. I don't know about hunting, but I'm fairly certain guns would have been confiscated.
A quick wiki revealed what goods were "released from rationing", ie buyable without ration cards:

1949: Milk, shoes, cheese. eggs.
1952: Meat, coffee, sugar
1960: Cars!