Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs. Additionally, scarcity implies that not all of society's goals can be pursued at the same time; trade-offs are made of one good against others. In an influential 1932 essay, Lionel Robbins defined economics as "the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."
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- Artificial scarcity
- Economic shortage
- Post-scarcity economy
- Rare species
- The psychological phenomena of the Scarcity heuristic
- Robbins, Lionel (1935) . An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 16.
- Milgate, Murray (March 2008). "goods and commodities". In Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 546–48. doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0657. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
- Montani, Guido (1987). "Scarcity". In Eatwell, J. Millgate, M., Newman, P. The New Palgrave. A Dictionary of Economics 4. Palgrave, Houndsmill. pp. 253–54.
- Malthus, Thomas R. (1960) . Gertrude Himmelfarb, ed. On Population (An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It affects the Future Improvement of Society. With Remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other writers). New York: Modern Library. p. 601. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
- Burke, Edmund (1990) . E. J. Payne, ed. Thoughts and Details on Scarcity. Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc. Retrieved 2010-03-24.