Concept: scarcity

Scarcity is a condition where there is less of something available than at least some people would like to have if they could have them at no cost to themselves. Because the total quantity of goods and services that people would like to have always far exceeds the amount which available economic resources are capable of producing in all known human societies, people must constantly make choices about which desires to satisfy first and which to leave less than fully satisfied for the time being. That is, they must constantly decide how best to allocate (apportion or distribute) the scarce resources available to them among the various alternative uses to which they can be put. Thus, scarcity is the fundamental condition that gives rise to the patterns of choosing behavior whose study constitutes the main focus of the academic discipline of economics.


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