How to Deal With Scarcity

Cameron

Member
  • #1
Throughout my life, I've heard different people say things like, "Well, why don't we just make more of such and such?" Or, "Why don't we just feed everyone as opposed to a select few?" I've even heard, "We should just make it so everyone is rich so everyone can have it all." I cringe when I hear these types of things because while it may seem possible to actually enact these types of ideas in the short term, they're certainly not sustainable over the long term. As you learn more and more about the laws of economics, you'll understand why. Scarcity is the overriding factor for how much of the world works.

There's an age old question out there that lingers over the heads of even our brightest thinkers. How do we solve the problem of scarcity? How can we as a society give more with less? How can greater and greater numbers of people enjoy the fruits of their labor while offering less and less of that labor? If you think about all of the things you consume on a daily basis, you'll quickly realize that the issue of scarcity has been dealt with quite readily through the years. At this moment in time, more people on earth have more than anyone has ever had in all of human history. Whether it be food, shelter, cars, healthcare, clothes, and even an internet connection, more people have got more while giving less. And just to hammer this point home, think about our forefathers. So many of them had to perform so much work themselves. If they wanted a house, they'd have to build it. If they wanted to eat, they'd have to grow their own food. If they wanted to wear clothes, they'd have to make them. Back in the early days, there was an endless amount of work that needed to be done. So much so that many people didn't make it very long. They simply couldn't survive, which is a far cry from today. While in the old days, an individual needed to possess a very wide breadth of skills, these days, an individual need only become proficient at one or two. That one or two gets them by, but how do they do that? How is it that possessing even less in the way of survival, building, mechanical, farming, or hunting skills and an understanding of how things work gets someone more than they've ever had in all of history? That's easy. It's not that they can't learn all of these things. It's that they don't need to. There's a very important concept referred to as the division and specialization of labor that has allowed humankind to progress to heights never seen before. It's smart. Very smart. And we'll discuss it in the next post.
 
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