Abundance and Scarcity

Scarcity is often defined as the subject matter of economics, giving rise to choice. Alternatively, abundance is seen as sitting outside economics, beyond the realm of choice and trade-offs. The question is sometimes asked: “Is there an economics of abundance?”

Discussions of scarcity and abundance are not confined to the field of economics; they occur in theology, among psychologists and social theorists, though the bête noire in the argument is frequently economics. The claims for abundance in theology emerge from God’s bounty: Walter Brueggemann characterizes our age as one where “money is … a kind of narcotic.… The great contradiction is that we have … more money and … less generosity.” He writes,

The conflict between … abundance and … scarcity is the defining problem confronting us ...

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