Simply defined, scarcity is the condition resulting from there being unlimited wants and limited resources available to satisfy those wants. (from Richmond University economics class)

What does this mean?

It is trivial to quote dictionary definitions about economics terms, without giving them a single essence of what they mean in our life.

Scarcity requires choice. It is a simple fact that we (as individuals or groups) cannot have everything that we want. It is almost a universal truth that you can't always get what you want (but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need... (Sorry)).

The essence of economics is how does a society manage scarcity. Within cities there is a scarcity of food, on farms an abundance. While in the cities there is man power and tools in abundance while these are lacking on the farms. The movement of scarce things from one area to another is the essence of economics. Granted, this is a bit oversimplified but it does demonstrate the issue at hand.

In much of the industrialized world today, scarcity has taken a sideline to other economic factors. We produce too much food, too many commodities, and much of what is produced has no tangible material equivalent (such as computer software, films, and songs). This change has caused much confusion in economics that previously had a firm relationship between material produced and its value.

Scarce"ness (?), Scar"ci*ty (?), n.

The quality or condition of being scarce; smallness of quantity in proportion to the wants or demands; deficiency; lack of plenty; short supply; penury; as, a scarcity of grain; a great scarcity of beauties.


A scarcity of snow would raise a mutiny at Naples. Addison.

Praise . . . owes its value to its scarcity. Rambler.

The value of an advantage is enhanced by its scarceness. Collier.

Syn. -- Deficiency; lack; want; penury; dearth; rareness; rarity; infrequency.


© Webster 1913.

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