rationing


rationing

Government allocation of scarce resources and consumer goods, usually adopted during wars, famines, or other national emergencies. Rationing according to use prohibits the less important uses of a commodity (e.g., the use of gasoline for pleasure trips as opposed to work-related travel). Rationing by quantity limits the amounts of a commodity available to each claimant (e.g., a pound of butter per month). Rationing by value limits the amount of money consumers can spend on commodities that are difficult to standardize (e.g., clothing). Point rationing assigns a point value to each commodity and allocates a certain number of points to each consumer. These can be tracked through coupons, which are issued to consumers and must be exchanged for the approved amounts of rationed goods. Consumers in a rationed economy are usually encouraged to save their money or invest in government bonds so that unspent money will not be used for unrationed items or purchases on the black market.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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