Scarcity

Scarcity

 

Scarcity is the beating heart of economics
Economists imagine that humankind
Constantly lives in the purgatory
Between our insatiable demands
And our limited means

From this point of view
All economic activity
Is a battle-ground where
Humans forever compete with each other
To grab their share of the scarce resources

Perhaps there is some truth in this view
As, in the animal kingdom,
Different creatures prey on each other
Not only dog eat dog
But any dominant beast swallows the subservient

But economists also tell us that scarcity
Produces markets, where supply meets demand
Prices are struck at the equilibrium
Seller and buyer are in accord
Satisfaction built on scarcity

Perhaps this is the capitalist ideal
And for the most part it has worked
But what about those with no purchasing power?
What if supply falters through drought or monopoly?
Markets need money to function, what if you are broke?

Scarcity is OK, it can be a great stimulus
But in a world where inequality is rife
Who will take care of the losers?
Must they too simply perish
As casualties in economic warfare?

Abundance is the obverse of scarcity
Like fresh air, of limitless supply
Untreated its economic value sits at zero
Would that the supply of all our needs was abundant
Might universal contentment be the norm?

Ken Fisher

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