x] FAIILE 477
and again employs millions of labourers. Intermediate crops,
such as sugar-cane and the late cotton, also employ large
Thus, any failure of the rains involves some failure of crops, Cause of
thereby reducing the supply of food and stopping the demand famine.
for labour. But not every failure of the rains causes famine.
The people are not generally dependent on the out-turn of a
single harvest. The railways have put the whole food-supply
of the country into circulation, and what is lost in one part of
the country is made good from another. The cultivators have
some resources and credit. The spring harvest may be good
although the autumn harvest has failed. The agricultural
labourers are safe so long as there is a demand for labour, and
there are various degrees of crop failure with varying effect
upon the labour market. A widespread failure of either har-
vest will cause distress, especially to the agricultural labourers;
but it depends on several conditions, such as the character of
preceding harvests, and the degree in which agricultural opera-
tions are affected, whether the distress will amount to famine.
II. The Famine Problems, and Jl/odern Relief
Formerly war, rapine, and misrule were direct causes of Removal
famine. These have disappeared and in the process a new c nhefkfon
problem has arisen. Peace has multiplied the people. The popula-
custom of the country favours early marriage, while the general tion.
security has removed the old checks on population. And as
those who have least hope in the world usually bring most
children into it, the increase of population has been great
among the poorer cultivators and the agricultural labourers.
The modern outlets, emigration and industrial development,
afford as yet little relief. Large tracts in India still await
population, but the inhabitants of congested districts will not
move to them, partly from habit, but largely from regard to
caste and language. Industries are growing up, but as yet
they draw only small numbers off the land, occupation being
still prescribed by inheritance and tradition. Pressure, there-
fore, increases where it is already greatest. Holdings already
small are subdivided, or sublet at competition rents, while the
supply of agricultural labour outruns the demand for it, and so
keeps agricultural wages low.
This is the great famine problem. It is not in the power of Statement
man to prevent drought in India, or, so long as the country is of the
mainly agricultural, to perevet drought from causing famine
mainly agricultural, to l)revent drought from causing famine: problem.