Scarcity is a concept fundamental to economics with important ramifications concerning human use of natural resources. Before the rise of classical economics, the term was primarily used to refer to times or situations of hardship; for example, there was a scarcity of food if people were starving; if people had plenty of food and other amenities, there was abundance. Classical economics redefined scarcity based on the claim that all humans (not just greedy ones) have unlimited needs and wants. Hence, any desirable resources that exist in finite quantities are considered scarce in the sense that there are less of them than people desire, and scarcity prevails even among the richest people in the most affluent societies.

This universal condition of scarcity is used to justify the ...

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