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The Myth of Scarcity
(vs. Abundance)

Here is where you find the details on why the GENI Initiative is such a compelling argument against the common myth of scarcity.


Keyword phrases (scarcity, abundance):

  • scarcity, scarcity myth, Example Of Scarcity,
  • environmental scarcity,
  • resource scarcity,

  • abundance



—Notes on economic theory: assuming scarcity by Róbinson Rojas

Economic theory is the name given to the more general and abstract parts of economics, the principles. These principles will be consistent with the ideological stance of the theorist. Thus, in modern times, economic theory deals with the principles explaining variations of what we know as the capitalist system of production, the most modern organization of production in social stratified societies, in societies whose structures are based neither on egalitarian relationships nor on collaborative patterns of social organizations. Economic theory has become a tool to "justify" the capitalist system not to analyse it.

The mechanics of price relations or of markets need a general explanation of the organization of production and distribution insofar as this is actually worked out and controlled through what is defined as competitive buying and selling -- which would largely be true even in a planned or bureaucratic socialistic economy.

Enlarged theories of PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, CONSUMPTION, BUSINESS FLUCTUATIONS, and other economic elements have been introduced and continually reconsidered from a variety of viewpoints. But all of them are based upon the assumption that there are not enough resources to meet the needs of the whole population. There is always a situation of "overpopulation", that is. From the latter, then, the notion of "rationing" scarce resources, or, better, "allocate" scarce resources. Thus, the capitalist market appears as an "efficient" tool for allocating scarce resources, making possible to produce for those who can afford the price of goods and services.

Economic theory, as a theory customized to justify the market system, must make fundamental assumptions which create a logical chain based on those assumptions. Because of the above, such a logical chain will remain logical only if the user of it agrees with the concept that the market system is a natural law and not just a stage in the human quest for fairer forms of social organizations. The most basic assumption of the prevalent customized economic theory is the so called principle of "scarcity":

"The perpetual problem of scarcity forcing people to make choices is the basis for the definition of ECONOMICS."

"Economics is the study of how society chooses to allocate its scarce resources to the production of goods and services in order to satisfy unlimited wants. You may be surprised by this definition of economics. People often think economics means studying supply and demand, the stock market, money and banking. In fact, there are many ways one could define economics, but economists accept the definition given here because it includes the link between SCARCITY and CHOICES." (I. B. Tucker, III, "Survey of Economics", West Publishing Co., 1995)

"What exactly is the subject that the economists from Smith to Marx to the present generation have analyzed? Here are a few definitions of economics:

  • Economics asks WHAT goods are produced, HOW these goods are produced, and FOR WHOM they are produced.
  • Economics analyzes movements in the overall economy -trends in prices, output, unemployment, and foreign trade. Once such trends are understood, economics helps develop the policies by which governments can improve the performance of the economy.
  • Economics is the study of commerce among nations. It helps explain why nations export some goods and import others, and analyzes the effects of putting economic barriers at national frontiers.
  • Economics is the science of choice. It studies how people choose to use scarce or limited productive resources (labour, equipment, technical knowledge), to produce various commodities (such as wheat, overcoats, concerts, and missiles), and to distribute these goods for consumption.
  • Economics is the study of money, banking, capital, and wealth.

"The list is a good one, yet you could extend it many times over. But if we boil down all these definitions, we find a common theme: ECONOMICS is the study of how societies use SCARCE RESOURCES to produce valuable commodities and distribute them among different people." (P. A. Samuelson & W. D. Nordhaus, "Economics", McGraw-Hill, 1992)

Market economists agree on that SCARCITY is the condition that human wants are forever greater than the available supply of time, goods, and resources. This so-called "economic science" assumes that whatever the size of the population there is always overpopulation!

—Notes on economic theory: assuming scarcity by Róbinson Rojas


Scarcity and Price, Supply and Demand, Simon and Ehrlich

Subject: Two Definitions of Scarcity

Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 08:17:00 -0400

From: "Steven" <shales@pipeline.com>:

Organization: Amron

Newsgroups: sci.econ

Scarcity and Price: Supply and Demand?

Scarcity at a given point in time or temporal scarcity. Scarcity is a function of the limits on satisfaction of all wants at a given point in time giving rise to differentials in costs among economic choices.

Scarcity over time or intertemporal scarcity. Increasing scarcity over time is a function of declining stocks of raw materials available for extraction giving rise to an increase in resource prices because of increasing marginal costs of extraction as the resource is depleted.

The first definition of scarcity is an eternal problem the second definition is simply a rough statement of the Hotelling Theorem (1931) of the optimal path for scarcity rent over time for an exhaustible resource.

We take the first definition as a given or self-evident. The second definition seems to be disproven over the last century as resource prices in real terms have declined and not risen as the finite stocks of exhaustible resources have been further depleted. Though more of the finite stock of most exhaustible resources have been discovered and brought into public or private ownership still the resource owners sell their stocks of these resources even in the face of declining real prices. We must assume that resource owners have reduced their marginal costs of extraction over time. The only variable missing in the analysis is technological change. This seems to explain, if true, lower marginal costs and hence resource owners indifference to lower real resource prices.


Here are links to another site about the abundance vs. scarcity converstion:




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