What is the real cause of a famine? A bad season perhaps, or greedy grain speculators. No, for Adam Smith,
a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniencies of a dearth.
In fact, those silly farmers and wasteful workers who complain of bad seasons are really not making the best use of their resources:
the scantiest crop, if managed with frugality and economy, will maintain, through the year, the same number of people that are commonly fed in a more affluent manner by one of moderate plenty.
But if you have a real famine, then the solution is simply to let the grain merchants and speculators loose:
The unlimited, unrestrained freedom of the corn trade, as it is the only effectual preventative of the miseries of a famine, so it is the best palliative of the inconveniencies of a dearth (Wealth of Nations, IV.v.b.5-7)
Ah, those dreadfully sinful, interfering governments.