Abundant scarcity

My first lesson in Economics was about scarcity. It suggests that economics is needed and considered because there is scarcity. Likewise, in my first job, where I was involved in lots of strategy work, my boss told me, that scarcity is what underlies strategy. We need strategies because there’s no abundant resources. We need to pick how to allocate our resources to achieve our objectives.

And then one day, one of my junior consultants fantasised over lunch how great it would be when the world has the technology to provide us unlimited amount of energy and hence all that we need for everyone in the world. Well, I work for a strategy consulting firm that focuses on the energy transition – so in case you’re wondering why energy. I gently reminded him that scarcity is in part caused by our unlimited wants and desires – that abundance in the world is not going to solve that fundamental challenge.

I now realised that even more fundamental the incompatibility lies in the fact that we humans are limited in the ability to even consume our wants. Therefore, true abundance lies within our own minds and wants. Of course, there’s a minimum threshold of resources we all need to survive. But beyond that, the richness of our lives really depends on our own perception, perspectives and our beliefs about how our lives should be lived. Tell yourself the wrong story, and you are going down a dream of abundance; and with the right story, you’re heading down an abundant life itself.

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