We Are Living in A World of Scarcity

Only in Paradise there’s no shortage, all goods are abundant and scarcity is an unknown concept. That’s exactly why there’s no economy, division of labor, or trade.

Many times, along history and also nowadays, we see an idea reemerge: interests are theft and should be prohibited. Indeed, why would one return more than they have taken? What people don’t understand is the difference of having the resources today and postponing the possession for the future by lending them to others. Like all mundane goods, time is limited. We are not immortal, and the quality of our life dwindles as we are aging. The interest is merely the price of time.

The scarcity of good, once an axiomatic origin of economy, is now increasingly occulted. There are even standpoints of radical leftists who claim that the very idea of shortage is just a propaganda myth cultivated on purpose by the “capitalists” to justify the exploitation of the working class. They say that all goods would be abundant, were they be judiciously distributed.

States, on the other hand, behave like scarcity weren’t an ontological datum, but just an unfortunate result of uninspired policies; like the “correct” policies would eliminate all scarcities and bring general prosperity. Here, we have a fundamental misunderstanding of prosperity: actually, it is not the absence of the inherent scarcity of goods, but the successful adaptation to it, through the economy.

One of the most insidious sources of the illusion of abundance perpetuated by the state is of a monetary nature. Since we can print money anytime, using simple or more complex methods, we have overcome the curse of scarcity; the monetary base can be multiplied infinitely, and with infinite means of exchange, the objects exchanged are also infinite – aren’t they?

This means that budged deficits are also a mere arithmetic-accounting illusion. It can be canceled by striking it out. Everybody is eligible for subsidies, from the biggest banks and corporations rescued by the state because they are too big to fail, down to unemployed or people on welfare. Are some industries or investment projects unable to stand in the market? No problem, we subsidize them. Are wages too low? No problem, we keep raising the minimum wage. Interests too high? No problem, we cap them by decree. And whoever doesn’t fall in line is subtly repressed through overregulation.

All that, to obscure the elementary truth that we are living in a world of scarcity, to which we can only adapt through free markets, i.e. through voluntary exchanges between individuals, with division of labor, respect for the property and fulfilment of contracts in order to maximize prosperity.

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