The vast majority of the resources on this planet have a finite amount. Some are just uncommon, such as gold, which results in a huge difference in value when compared to other elements like iron. Other things, such as supercars, have a limited supply since they are only made in small numbers.
No matter what happens, there will always be a scarcity of something, at least within the context of how the economy is now structured. The other question that needs answering is, what kind of impact does it have on our everyday lives? The perception and experience of scarcity can profoundly affect how we think and feel. How exactly will be explained in the following paragraph.
1. The presence of scarcity motivates us to work harder
The presence of scarcity forces us to adjust our priorities and motivates us to improve our efficiency. For instance, when we are pressed for time to accomplish a task, we are forced to select more effective ways, which results in higher productivity while conserving a finite resource. Additionally, focus enables us to choose superior options.
When it comes to the availability of material resources, the fact that there is a finite amount of them forces us to search for innovative ways to improve the efficacy of production while simultaneously lowering costs. To put it another way, because we only have a limited amount of something, we attempt to make the most of every minute.
2. When we only have a limited amount of something, we are forced to compromise
Suppose there is something that we require but do not have. In that case, we acknowledge the likelihood that we will not be able to acquire it and accept the necessity of conceding by selecting an alternative that shares many of the same qualities as what we desired initially but is not the same. In any event, choosing one item necessitates ignoring the other available options. Therefore, a lack of time leads to a compromise, which can manifest as a reduction in the amount or the quality of the work completed.
3. Scarcity enhances the pleasure of satisfying a need
Either a good must be in short supply, or it must be outlawed for sufficient interest in it among members of society. Even if it were given away for free, nobody would want a commodity that is readily available and in no way illegal, such as the candy that is provided at hotel reception desks.
Scarce items are a different story. Because our minds naturally concentrate on unfulfilled requirements and place a higher priority on those, the lack of anything can sometimes generate an unhealthy fixation on that thing. In addition, the pleasure of acquiring a scarce item is felt for a significantly more extended period than when it is associated with acquiring something readily available.
4. Mental exhaustion and problems with self-control occur
There is a strong correlation between scarcity and poverty, which holds true even when discussing intangible resources. When a person has more of something scarce around him, his ability to exercise self-control is diminished.
When you can’t afford much, you have to reject desire because your brain doesn’t understand why you don’t just take that juicy hamburger or drive that costly automobile when it’s right in front of you. However, you have to resist the desire when you can’t afford much.
The continued repression of desires causes mental tiredness, which might develop into depression over time. This, in turn, has the effect of reducing one’s willpower, which, in turn, makes it even more difficult to exercise self-control.
5. Scarcity makes people short-sighted
The perception of limited resources generates a need to fulfill an urgent psychological requirement by taking action or acquiring resources in the here and now. Because scarcity makes us more concentrated, as we discovered in the previous section, we tend to overestimate the potential benefits of the now, which is the cost of the future. Things of significance are put on hold, and one’s attention is focused on one thing: making up for the lack of a rare resource.
6. People act on their impulses all the time
We will likely emerge victorious due to evolution and possess at least the most essential resources. Over time, essential resources have been augmented with new products that do not immediately influence one’s survival ability but rather raise one’s comfort level. Because of this, we may experience the inability to buy a new phone, for example, as a deficiency of basic needs, which results in stress and an increased risk of engaging in impulsive behaviours to gratify a want.
Because of this, for instance, this quality is utilized by marketers, who artificially create scarcity, even if it does not exist, to motivate people to make impulsive purchases because they believe that later on, this product will not be available to buy because it will have been discontinued. People are occasionally pushed to do immoral acts because they fear missing out on something profitable, mainly if there is a limited quantity of it.
7. Scarcity makes us want what we don’t need
The presence of scarcity fosters focus. On the other hand, this results in an inflated appraisal of the worth of limited resources and things. It is possible to sell anything by playing on consumers’ fears, even if the buyer has never had a use for the product in question in the past.
In times like these, the mind wanders into the distant future and imagines scenarios in which a rare resource may be required. In most cases, it locates an answer and, after demonstrating the benefit, regardless of how fictitious it may be, it switches on the reaction of wanting to own the object.
8. Scarcity keeps one from losing interest in life
According to the vast majority of standards, scarcity is a negative thing. However, there are some bright spots to be found as well. The presence of scarcity helps to create a life that is both exciting and fulfilling. For instance, people are forced to prioritize the critical items that directly impact their safety and quality because the constant lack of time causes them to do so. It is pretty doubtful that humankind would have made as much progress in the realms of science, society, and culture if individuals had access to such an essential resource as time in such large quantities. We would waste time by putting off crucial tasks believing we had plenty of time to finish them later.
A good analogy would be a video game where the player is just beginning to explore a made-up universe. When you have nothing, and virtually every resource needs to be mined at a huge expense, the interest is so intense that you can stay in front of the computer for hours thinking that just a handful of minutes have gone. This is because the mining process is incredibly time-consuming. However, once you have accomplished everything and can locate, purchase, or manufacture any resource, the initial spark of excitement that the game provided begins to wane, and you will want to quit playing it.
It is the same in life because evolution has planted the need for something new, uncommon, and undiscovered. In addition, a rare resource or product is an excellent example of how these conditions might be met.