General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Is a reality without scarcity possible?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10780points) May 13th, 2010

It seems to me that no matter how many resources are available to everyone, that regardless there will always be something that is scarce.

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12 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Unless resources exist and are distributed in proportions exactly equal to their consumption, including accommodating changing uses and variations in population and different habits across populations, there is bound to be more of some things than others in relation to need.

Furthermore, scarcity can be created artificially to increase value.

But it doesn’t necessarily follow that some things must be scarce. Theoretically there could be plenty for all, even though there is more of some resources than there is of others. If most of the world’s population were to disappear right now, there would still be less gold than there is dirt, but that doesn’t mean a shortage.

ragingloli's avatar

Once we invent the replicator powered by an inexhaustable power source, yes, it will be possible.

arpinum's avatar

time is scarce and I don’t see anything coming along to solve that one.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Yes, though I don’t find it likely that such a reality will exist on any sort of grand scale at any point in the next 100 years. Our economies aren’t geared to solve that problem, in fact they tend to exacerbate it and pervasive greed just makes it worse.

kevbo's avatar

Scarcity is a compelling state of mind. Seeing abundance is the opposite.

CMaz's avatar

“scarcity” creates value.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think it depends on the need, more than availability. When people didn’t use or need oil, there was no scarcity of it. However, there is a finite availability of fresh, potable water, for instance, and it would be possible for living things to exhaust that resource.

capo556's avatar

“And “Value” will be the downfall of man.”

Schenectandy's avatar

If your desires are not great, a little will seem much to you; for small appetite makes poverty equivalent to wealth.
—Democritus

CMaz's avatar

@capo556 – It always is.

LostInParadise's avatar

According to Nietzsche, we compete with one another for status. After our basic economic needs are satisfied, we use money to enhance our status. We may not think of it in that way, but by measuring ourselves against others that is what we are doing. I think the need for status will always be with us and there will always be a need to achieve, either economically or through some other means.

cockswain's avatar

Even if you were to somehow eliminate the problem of finite physical resources, time will always be scarce because there will never be enough time for us to satisfy our unlimited needs and wants, be it mastery of new skills or seeking further knowledge. So I would say scarcity will always exist. Even if we never died, we still couldn’t travel to two places at once.

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