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Societal Problems → Scarcity


In economics, scarcity "refers to the basic fact of life that there exists only a finite amount of human and nonhuman resources which the best technical knowledge is capable of using to produce only limited maximum amounts of each economic good." If the conditions of scarcity didn't exist and an "infinite amount of every good could be produced or human wants fully satisfied ... there would be no economic goods, i.e. goods that are relatively scarce..." Scarcity is the limited availability of a commodity, which may be in demand in the market or by the commons. Scarcity also includes an individual's lack of resources to buy commodities. The opposite of scarcity is abundance. Scarcity plays a key role in economic theory, and it is essential for a "proper definition of economics itself".

"The best example is perhaps Walras' definition of social wealth, i.e., economic goods. 'By social wealth', says Walras, 'I mean all things, material or immaterial, that are scarce, that is to say, on the one hand, useful to us and, on the other hand, only available to us in limited quantity'."

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World Problems relating to Scarcity

From the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

Decreasing diversity of biological species
Air pollution
Inhuman conception by homosexual parents
Lack of skilled manpower in rural areas
Inadequate health services
Stagnated development of agricultural production
Physical unfitness
Inadequate management of refuse
Shortage of waste landfill sites
Crop vulnerability
Inadequate social innovation
Restricted delivery of essential services to rural communities
Vulnerability of women and children in emergencies
Felt community powerlessness
Lack of individual historical context
Inadequate educational facilities for gifted children
Shortage of professional and technical personnel
Foreign exchange reserve shortages
Defective land use planning
Restricted state support of the family
Restricted scope of local employment

Action Strategies relating to Scarcity

From the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

Ensuring viable financial basis for the United Nations
Studying causes of lack of solidarity with the poor
Building skilled labour forces
Increasing global funds
Increasing amount of funds for research
Improving access to development capital
Campaigning for environmental protection laws
Providing local planning resources
Promoting entrepreneurship
Protesting lack of integration of environmental and economic issues
Increasing number of specimens for medical study
Banning hazardous waste exports to countries lacking safe handling capability
Providing heroic images
Providing sufficient daily physical activity in urban environments
Relieving scarcity
Lacking piety
Increasing quantity of experimental non-human primates
Increasing number of professional and technical personnel
Increasing amount of qualified government officials
Increasing amount of time for policy making
Preventing false image of scarcity
Conserving mineral resources
Increasing amount of teaching materials

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