The Scarcity Perspective


November 17, 2018

Have you noticed how often our politics is focused on who has what? This perspective permeates our populace, or at least our public discourse. The politics of jealousy or envy has gained preeminence.

“You have money; therefore give me some.“

There seems to be so little understanding, or maybe more accurately much ignoring, of the way life and economy works in reality. People seem to think if one person has more money, and another person has less, the first stole from the second one.

Several years ago there was a news report with pictures that showed someone slammed Bill Gates in the face with a pie. Presumably this was because he was rich. This is an example of the politics of envy in action.

Let’s consider something. Take a little time to make a list of all the poor people you know who are paying wages to other people.

Bill Gates has made a fortune. Who would question that? Others have made one too. Some have inherited what they have, but others have worked long hard hours to attain their standing. And it’s likely that those who have inherited, did so from people who worked long and hard to attain their standing.

In fiscal 2018, Microsoft employed 131,000 people. This would indicate that Bill Gates’ dream and work has helped thousands of people have a better way of life. So of course he deserves a pie in the face. Surely you see the logic of that.

We have all heard ad nauseam the reports of evil rich people. I suspect that most of those who complain do not know anything about those people and their personal lives.

In real life, money and economics are not zero sum games. The increase of one person‘s wealth does not normally accrue by theft from someone else. We know that some people over-charge for their services or cut corners on product. This is not a practice that bodes well for the future of the enterprise. People figure things out.

The wonderful benefits of capitalism are known around the world. It is one reason so many people risk their lives to get into our country. (Take a moment to think about how many people risk their lives to leave the United States and try to get into Venezuela, or any other wretched example of terrible government leadership and economics.)

Recently a man decided to find out how much it would cost him to make a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich from scratch. The story is fascinating. It’s a mammoth job.

Years ago I read a story about all the steps it takes to make a pencil that costs pennies for the end consumer to buy. I do not remember the details now, but it showed that when people work to provide a product or service that someone needs, both that person and the consumer benefit. They make a trade. The worker or producer gets a reward for his work, and the purchaser gets something that he desires.

When the government gets out of the business of trying to control these transactions, products improve, and in general processes are improved. (The question presents: do we have the political guts to do this?)

The economies of scale make such differences. What would be prohibitively slow and expensive for you or me to make a few pencils, is transformed by hundreds of people around the world, working in concert, contributing their part in the process. That without centralized planning.


Photo by Plush Design Studio from Pexels

Life is not a zero-sum game. Scarcity is not the overruling factor. Abundance is how God set up our world, and a perspective of abundance is healthy.

In your own life is your outlook one of scarcity or abundance? God is a God of abundance. Unimaginable abundance. Lavish abundance.

One might say He is particularly wasteful.

Think of an isolated meadow high in the mountains. Millions of flowers are scattered where only 13 people might see the view in a year. What a waste of beauty. Wild edibles rot unused annually. These do not cause God to decide to withhold blessing and abundance.

If you have a perspective of scarcity—that there is only so much to go around—you will be more likely to develop an attitude of suspicion and distrust. You will be more compelled to grab, grasp, and hoard. After all, who is going to protect your interests, if not you?

If you have a perspective of abundance, you trust the Almighty God, and you believe the words He has said, you will have more joy, more hope, and less fear.

Do you trust Him to take care of you? Or, do you think you are going to be disadvantaged unless your Benevolent Government steps in to provide everything?

I suggest that there is a way to live that does not place scarcity concerns at the center of your focus. God is a God of abundance. If your mindset is one of abundance, based on knowing Him and knowing the truth that He has spoken, your life can be far different from living in fear, focused on what you can obtain and keep.

Here’s another consideration: generosity is prosperous, while hoarding is not. We’ve all heard of the pond that has no outlet, which results in stagnation. If you have a heart closed up to other people, and you believe we live in a zero sum world, you will likely make sure that you are taking care of yourself. As you do, the flow will be stopped up. “The generous man will be prosperous…”

Jesus Himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. This could be accurately translated that it is more prosperous to give than to receive. The reason is something happens in your heart, and you find that you can be trusted with more, because you and God both know you can be trusted to not try to keep as much is you can for yourself.

I suggest you dump the politics of envy. It doesn’t help you or anyone else.

2 thoughts on “The Scarcity Perspective

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