Post-scarcity economy

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Post-scarcity is a theoretical economy in which goods, services and information are universally accessible.[1]

The scarcity model[edit]

Main article: Scarcity

In a 1932 essay Lionel Robbins defines economics as being "the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."[2]

Unavoidable scarcity[edit]

Population growth, if it continued long enough, would lead to unavoidable scarcity. As pointed out by Thomas Robert Malthus, Paul R. Ehrlich, Albert Allen Bartlett, and others, exponential growth in human population has the capacity to overwhelm any finite supply of resources, even the entire known universe, in a remarkably short time. For example, if the human population continued to grow indefinitely at its 1994 rate, in 1,900 years the mass of the human population would equal the mass of Earth.[3]

The post-scarcity model[edit]

Digital abundance[edit]

Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project, has cited the eventual creation of a post-scarcity society as one of his motivations:[4]

In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the post-scarcity world, where nobody will have to work very hard just to make a living. People will be free to devote themselves to activities that are fun, such as programming, after spending the necessary ten hours a week on required tasks such as legislation, family counseling, robot repair and asteroid prospecting. There will be no need to be able to make a living from programming.



Con Blomberg's 1959 short story "Sales Talk" depicts a post-scarcity society in which society incentivizes consumption to reduce the burden of overproduction. To further reduce production, virtual reality is used to fulfill peoples' needs to create.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert Chernomas. (1984). "Keynes on Post-Scarcity Society." In: Journal of Economic Issues, 18(4).
  2. ^ Robbins, Lionel (1945). An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (PDF). London: Macmillan and Co., Limited. , p. 16
  3. ^ Muir, Patricia (2007-11-01). "Cornucopian versus New Malthusian perspectives". Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ GNU Manifesto (full text online, see also GNU Manifesto) - Stallman, Richard; Dr. Dobb's Journal, March 1985
  5. ^ Blomberg, Con (December 1959). "Sales Talk". Galaxy. p. 48. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 

External links[edit]