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Scarcity and Artificial Scarcity

In its simplest form, scarcity refers to the quantitative relationship between means and ends. When the means available to satisfy some ends are not enough, then a situation of scarcity arises. If the reverse is true, then a situation of abundance is present. Sufficiency arises when means and... Full description

1st Person: Daoud, Adel
Source: in: The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies (New York, NY: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), p. 489-491
Type of Publication: Article
Published: 2015
Series: Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedias in Social Science
Keywords: economic sociology > inequality > political economy > poverty > resources
Online: Full text via publisher
Abstract
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Summary: In its simplest form, scarcity refers to the quantitative relationship between means and ends. When the means available to satisfy some ends are not enough, then a situation of scarcity arises. If the reverse is true, then a situation of abundance is present. Sufficiency arises when means and ends are just about equal. Of these three, scarcity seems to have played the most central role in social science theories. Scarcity is thus a different concept to the concept of limited resources. The qualitative dimensions of scarcity refer to several things, including: (1) the ontological nature of the means and ends; (2) the level of analysis (individual, household, country, etc.); and (3) a system of entitlements for access to resources. When individuals are excluded from accessing sufficient resources in a given system, those individuals are said to experience artificial scarcity. Artificial scarcity can also refer to a situation when scarcity is induced into a system, when it potentially could have sufficiency or abundance.
Physical Description: 3 p.

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