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Definition of Economic Scarcity According to Experts

Edukasistan.com - Hello everyone! In economics, understanding the concept of scarcity is a crucial aspect. Scarcity refers to a situation in which existing resources are insufficient to meet the unlimited human needs and desires. This resource covers everything from raw materials and labor to capital.

This shortage situation forces humans to make choices and decisions in exploiting these limited resources. Understanding the shortages is vital in the economy because it is directly related to the issue of resource allocation, which is the process of distributing existing resources to meet human needs.

Table Of Contents

    Resource allocation becomes so significant in a scenario of scarcity that humans are forced to make choices and decisions using limited resources. Scarcity also affects the prices of goods and services, where the scarcity conditions will cause prices to rise as demand exceeds supply.

    Understanding Scarcity is crucial in the economy regarding resource allocation, prices of goods and services, and consumer behavior. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of scarcity is essential for anyone wanting to understand economics more deeply. This article will explain the concept of scarcity in the economy and why understanding it is so important.

    • Scarcity is when limited resources fail to satisfy the unlimited human desire.
    • Adam Smith argues that scarcity arises because of the infinite desire of man to face the limitation of resources.
    • According to Alfred Marshall, scarcity is caused by natural resources and labor constraints.
    • Lionel Robbins argued that scarcity arose because of man's compulsion to choose between the various alternatives available.
    • Paul Samuelson and John Maynard Keynes argue that deficiencies are an economic issue that must be overcome through effective resource allocation.

    Definition of Scarcity in General

    Definition of Economic Scarcity
    Definition of Economic Scarcity According to Experts

    Time is a precious resource because everyone has only a limited amount of time every day, 24 hours. However, life's desires and demands often make time feel limited and insufficient to meet all these needs and desires.

    The same goes for money, which is often a scarce resource. Even though we are trying hard to make a profit, we still want to buy a house or a car, set up a pension fund, or invest in the stock market.

    Scarcity is generally defined as the condition in which the limited availability of resources cannot satisfy all unlimited human needs and desires. In the economic context, Scarcity refers to the inadequacy of natural resources, labor, and capital to produce goods and services to meet all human needs.

    As a result, people must make choices and decisions about allocating these limited resources efficiently to maximize satisfaction and well-being.  In everyday life, scarcity can be a severe problem if not properly managed. Therefore, learning to manage our resources wisely and efficiently is essential to meet our needs and desires better.

    Definition of Economic Scarcity According to Experts

    Understanding scarcity in economics emphasizes the importance of efficiently allocating resources to meet unlimited human needs and desires.

    In economics, scarcity has gained special attention from various leading thinkers. This Economic weakness, as a phenomenon underlying the study of economics, has been defined and interpreted through various lenses by experts. Here is a definition of some prominent views on economic scarcity:

    1. Adam Smith

    Adam Smith, often regarded as the father of the modern economy, articulated scarcity as a manifestation of the imbalance between supply and demand for goods and services. Smith argued that when demand exceeds supply, prices will rise, creating shortfall conditions.

    2. Alfred Marshall

    Alfred Marshall, a neoclassical economist, expands the concept of scarcity by emphasizing that scarcities are limited to goods and services and include productive factors such as labor and capital.

    3. Lionel Robbins

    Lionel Robbins gives a broader definition of scarcity, identifying it as the inability of resources to satisfy all human desires. Robbins emphasizes that limited resources force individuals and societies to make wise choices in allocating such resources.

    4. Paul Samuelson

    Paul Samuelson considered scarcity in which there was a trade-off between the various alternatives to using available resources. Samuelson highlighted that any choice in the usage of resources carries the cost of an opportunity to be considered.

    5. John Maynard Keynes

    John Maynard Keynes, focusing on the macroeconomic aspects of scarcity, identified it as a result of the imbalance between savings and investment. According to Keys, a surplus of savings over investment can lead to surplus goods and services, ultimately lowering prices and deflation.


    Despite having different views on economic scarcity, economists such as Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, Lionel Robbins, Paul Samuelson, and John Maynard Keynes all agree that scarcity is a condition in which available resources are insufficient to meet all human needs or desires.

    In this article, we delineate and compare the interpretation of economic scarcity articulated by several prominent economic figures, including Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, Lionel Robbins, Paul Samuelson, and John Maynard Keynes.

    Although their perspectives vary, the common essence of their discussions highlights shortcomings as conditions in which available resources are insufficient to meet all human needs or desires simultaneously.

    A deep understanding of economic shortfall is a critical foundation in economic decision-making. Awareness of resource constraints forces individuals and communities to make wise choices in allocating such resources.

    In this context, the concept of cost of opportunity becomes central, driving efforts to optimize the use of limited resources to meet needs and desires as efficiently as possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is economic scarcity?

    Economic scarcity is when existing resources are limited while human needs are unlimited.

    2. Who are the experts who give an understanding of the economic scarcity?

    Experts who gave insight into the economic shortage included Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo.

    3. What do you mean by limited resources?

    Limited resources are limited in quantities and cannot be renewed, such as soil, water, and minerals.

    4. What is meant by unlimited human needs?

    The unlimited human need is a need that continues to grow with the advancement of the times and technology.

    5. How does the economic downturn affect economic activity?

    Economic scarcity affects economic activity by forcing humans to choose and allocate limited resources to meet unlimited needs.

    6. What can be done to overcome the economic shortage?

    To address the economic shortage, it can be done by improving resource use efficiency, developing new technologies, and properly allocating resources.

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