Not a brexit thread/post: more philosophical about rationing

(22 Posts)
KatyMac Thu 31-Jan-19 13:16:56

If the government ever did go back to rationing (I don't think they will - this is more about possible dystopia fiction I guess) would it resemble WWII rationing or would the modern rules on diet cos into play? (Over processed diet drinks, low fat food etc)

And how would food allergies and intolerances be catered for?

Coeliac didst would be fine and diagnosed dairy/nut etc but for people like me with IBS and a very restricted diet - how would we cope?

I can see it being an administrative nightmare and it's been going round in my head to the point that I'm going to have to write it down to escape it (possibly a very crap short story as I am not a writer)

But I wondered what other people think?

And going on from that, hoarding and whether 'authorities' would 'raid' and confiscate......thinking about Anne Frank/Logan's Run/bladerunner & a weird film no-one else can remember about being pregnant illegally and escaping using a coat that was lead lined so the scanners couldn't pick up the pregnancy

Why have I posted in peppers? Because I imagine you guys have thought about it more than most grin

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bellinisurge Thu 31-Jan-19 13:27:21

I have lived with rationing in the 80s in another country. They only rationed the stuff that was in short supply- meat; dairy and sugar. You got an extra ration of sugar at harvest time to do your preserves. It was kind of assumed that everyone would use the black market (there was light touch control of that). Meat was available off ration but you had to pay for it. Similarly dairy. The rations system sort of got you access to the basics as that country saw it. Veg was only available on the black market and depended on what was brought in by the seller. You could buy it without ration in the main shops but it's patchy availability prevented any rationing.
I guess the answer to your question is that it depends what is in short supply.
Much of our "mythology " dare I call it, around the "cradle to grave" aspect of the NHS comes from our experience of WWII. It's obviously a bit more complicated than that but we are far more comfortable in this country about expecting the state to solve our problems for us. But the downside of this is that people are vulnerable without the state to help them. This is ordinary people not people who are already vulnerable.

cloudtree Thu 31-Jan-19 14:15:35

If we did have rationing it is highly unlikely to cater to individual dietary requirements. It would be difficult enough to administer as it is.

I suspect anyone with a food intolerance would need to try to barter what they had been given as standard to get what they needed.

I don't think we will be in that place though. I do think there will be shortages of certain things, less choice and significantly higher prices.

KatyMac Fri 01-Feb-19 10:01:45

Hmm yes

In Solent green all food was controlled

I wonder how it would work out - what a logistical exercise

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RegularShowRules Fri 01-Feb-19 11:16:12

How could they possibly implement rationing with online shopping, buying at corner shops, markets etc.?
They just couldn't , the only thing I could see is shops being told to sell no more than 2 loaves of bread etc per customer but no official record of who has bought but that wouldn't stop people queuing up again buying 2 more.

cloudtree Fri 01-Feb-19 11:18:10

Well it would be possible. The retailers wouldn't be permitted to sell food online.

It would clearly involve a fairly sophisticated system though.

As such far more likely that it would be every man for himself.

bellinisurge Fri 01-Feb-19 11:22:36

@RegularShowRules , I had a ration book when I was on rations in another country. I don't see it's that difficult to do either that or an e-version if that if the grid is still up.
Obviously there will be ways around it but it seems like the obvious approach. If it were ever to get to that.

ChariotsofFish Fri 01-Feb-19 11:25:38

We don’t have a national ID card system, so I think that would have to be introduced first. Then electronic tracking to allow people to purchase only so much of rationed products (bread, milk, meat?). You’d have to use your ID card and the ration card to buy so it wouldn’t matter where you bought it. It would go wrong because government id projects do. They’d maybe piggyback on supermarket loyalty schemes and you’d have to register with only one scheme. Nobody would give a shit about special diets.

Ifailed Fri 01-Feb-19 11:28:36

No government will introduce rationing, though they'd probably put out guideline. Retailers would do it, to protect their supply chain and to ensure customers return - empty shelves don't look good.

KatyMac Fri 01-Feb-19 11:45:51

yes if I set it 10-15 yrs in the future and have chips in your wrist?

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JamieIsCooking Fri 01-Feb-19 11:50:08

I guess you would have to use your NI to register with a preferred supermarket, then collect your ration there each week, click and collect style.

JamieIsCooking Fri 01-Feb-19 11:51:34

yes if I set it 10-15 yrs in the future and have chips in your wrist?

Christian people will reject that, I guess others will take it up.

DoodleLab Fri 01-Feb-19 12:29:27

I'm sure these days, if it were to pass, it would be based on loyalty card technology. Or along the lines of the SNAP programme in the US, I think the food stamps are debited from a smart card that you use to pay at checkout.

Vegetarians and diabetics were catered for during WW2 rationing, the former having a bit of extra cheese in place of meat.

ElyElyOy Fri 01-Feb-19 13:06:52

I think it would (in a fictional and practical sense) need a return to more localised shopping. Rather than going to different shops, or online, people would be able to go to shops based on their postcode and have a limited account with pre-set ration limits.

It would also realistically only be certain items that could be rationed: but they would probably be the ones that were most important. However what’s to stop someone with chickens selling their eggs for £10 each, or shooting pigeons and selling them on the black market for £50?

Maybe think about researching what’s happening in the Gaza Strip and Venezuela as a way that these situations are handled and then put your own fictional spin on it smile

(Also if you are interested there is lots of support and advice out there for theoretical fictional ideas on Twitter - #WritersCommunity and dystopian near-future stuff is really popular right now grin)

bellinisurge Fri 01-Feb-19 13:11:00

Having lived with rationing in the late 80s in another country, black market stuff was completely allowed if you could afford it.

BlackeyedGruesome Fri 01-Feb-19 13:58:49

W W2 chickens were registered. They came and collected the eggs from you. I know because my uncle dropped some so my gran had to go without their families ration to give the correct number to the ration people.

ElyElyOy Fri 01-Feb-19 20:14:15

My Gran always used to say a lot of people made a lot of money during rationing: it wasn’t hard for those with land to disguise how much produce they had to people who didn’t understand farming etc. Her (estranged) cousin made a small fortune out of black market produce from his farm - although he left his own family hungry angry

ElyElyOy Fri 01-Feb-19 20:15:48

Sorry, just to add: plenty of farmers did suffer like everyone else during rationing, I don’t want people to think I’m slagging off a whole bunch of people based on the actions of a few unscrupulous people! smile

KatyMac Fri 01-Feb-19 20:43:16

Wow! chicken were registered......were foxes?

Thanks ElyElyOy - tbh I have never ever written anything bt this is bugging me! I may not get past an outline.....let's be honest I may not get that far!

Can't see paper coupons going far (I remember my grandad telling a tale about an official who insited in the coupons from the shop keeper being in a certain format, the official was rude to the lady in front of my grandad and when my grandad got there he took all the clips off and stirred them up so the official had to count them. He went totally ballistic and swore at my Grandad and said he wasn't allowed to submit them like that, and my Grandad said he had checked the rules and the offical could just count them. My grandad stood there for over an hour while they were counted and suggested the official wasn't rude next time)

Blackmarket, hmm, lots to think about here - thanks

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cloudtree Fri 01-Feb-19 20:57:22

I don't think thats quite right about the chickens being registered and a certain number of eggs having to be handed over. Chicken feed was rationed and you had to prove you had the chickens to get the feed so you could register a certain number of chickens. You could effectively then exchange your household egg ration for the chicken feed ration. That was a much better option since the egg ration was about 2-3 eggs a week but chickens will lay many more than that during the laying months.

Chickens lay a variable number of eggs though so it wasn't that you had to hand over a certain number of eggs to the authorities if you had chickens. People were encouraged to keep chickens to supplement their diets and were also encouraged to grow fruit and veg in their gardens which was also then their own to keep.

cloudtree Fri 01-Feb-19 20:58:16

The problem was the chicken feed ration wasn't sufficient to feed the chickens.

BadlyAgedMemes Fri 01-Feb-19 21:32:44

I've been talking about rationing with my DM last night. She was born during rationing, although not in the UK. One thing she stressed was that people in the countryside were pretty much always better off than those living in towns and cities. Even poor people in the countryside had either some land to grow something or to keep an animal or two, or some access to local "black market" trading with people they knew who had excess. (My greatgrandparents had cows, and bought "luxuries" with butter in the black market.)

A thing I'd never thought about: even though DM's folks kept animals, they needed special permits for things like how many animals they could slaughter and when. They weren't just able to make decisions on their own about the resources they owned themselves.

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