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Rationing is the controlled distribution of resources: it restricts how much people are allowed to buy, separate from the fact that goods must be payed. Thus, in economics, rationing is a form of demand control in a market system.

It may be applied in the case that by law the price is set lower than in accordance with supply and demand. A reason for the latter may be that there is a shortage, and consequently the price would be very high, which, especially in the case of necessities, is unacceptable with regard to those who can not afford the high prices.

In such case the reason of rationing is to avoid that what can be obtained is too much determined by chance and dependant on long waiting in queues.

Rationing is often instituted during wartime. Rationing often includes food and other necessities for which there is a shortage, including materials needed for the war effort such as rubber tires, leather shoes, clothing and gasoline. Towards the end of the First World War, panic buying in Britain prompted rationing of first [[sugar], then meat, for the rest of the war. During World War II rationing existed in many countries including Britain and the United States. The British Ministry of Food[?] refined the process in the early 1940s to ensure the population did not starve when food imports were severely restricted and local production limited due to the large number of men fighting the war. Rationing did not end in Britain until the 1950s.

In the Netherlands there has been rationing of gasoline in 1973, in the so-called "oil crisis".

A Ration is one's allotted portion of the resources being distributed on a particular day or at a particular time.

Rationing is a practice that has long been used in the military, especially the navy, to make supplies last for a defined duration, such as a voyage. To ration the supplies, they are divided up into equal portions for each person for each day, or even a meal, over the expected voyage period. The objective is to ensure that each person receives a fair share of supplies throughout the voyage. Often some reserve was also held. If supplies ran short or the voyage went longer than expected, the ration portions would be reduced. For Example: Half Rations means the portions are cut in half, making the supplies last twice as long.

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