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Understanding Scarcity and Post-Scarcity

It’s frustrating when people insist we are already living in a Post-Scarcity civilization. Yes there is great abundance, but great abundance – 2015 riches – is actually very far from being a Post-Scarcity civilization.

In relation to this video, Tech Insider wrote (29 Aug 2015): “Economist Brad DeLong recently spoke with “Trekonomics” author Manu Saadia about how we’re living in post-scarcity world.”

Being 95% of the way there to Post-Scarcity is insufficient because the last 5%, in 2015, is insurmountable.

For example it is often said humans and chimps share 98% or 99% of DNA. The final few critical-mass percentage points are a massive difference.

Post-Scarcity is a level of limitless abundance, of an extreme nature, entailing no need to implement or manage it; furthermore it is impossible to suppress it, after reaching the tipping-point.

No accurate analogy exists to define Post-Scarcity because we haven’t reached Post-Scarcity. One close analogy is the air we breathe. A very abundant amount of air means it’s impossible to stop people breathing air for free. It is impossible to charge people for breathing air in an everyday context. It is essentially impossible to reduce the amount to air regarding charging people for breathing. We cannot create so-called “artificial-scarcity” of air.

While pollution-management is an issue, the actual production of air is incredibly resilient, self-sustaining. Massive deforestation has not significantly stopped air production.

Daylight is another example we can use regarding Post-Scarcity. It is impossible to stop the sun from shining (at least with 2015 technology). It is impossible to charge people for receiving daylight. So much sunlight hits the Earth every day that it is impossible to demand people pay for it. There is no need to manage the creation of sunlight.

When something is free, without any effort to make it free, for example sunlight or the air we breathe, it is either beyond scarcity or significantly abundant for us to essentially deem it being beyond scarcity.

Food is scarce; it is unlike daily sunlight freely flooding our lives, or the air surrounding us. The scarcity of food means it has a price, it costs money.

When something is free, without effort to make it free (sunlight and air), this is a good indicator of very high level abundance.

Scarcity is regulated by price. The greater the scarcity the greater the price. Prices do accurately reflect the level of scarcity or abundance. The price-scarcity correlation is true despite any minor price fluctuations dependent on human behavior, greed, machinations.

The lower the price of something, the greater its abundance. If something is not free it is definitely not Post-Scarcity.

Post-Scarcity is a situation where everything is free and everything is limitless. The best example we have regardless this free limitlessness is how many breaths you can take. There is no limit imposed regarding how much air you can breathe. All your breathing does not deplete our free and essentially limitless air.

When people mention “artificial-scarcity” they are actually addressing the emphasis of scarcity. If you truly have Post-Scarcity, regarding any resource, it is impossible to create scarcity of the resource. Artificial-scarcity is a logical impossibility. The impossibility is comparable to adding one ice-cube to the sun, whereupon you insist artificial-coldness was created. The issue is tantamount to removing a cup of water from an ocean, then insisting you created an artificial scarcity of sea-water. If you add one cup of water to an ocean you haven’t created artificial wetness, you merely emphasized, slightly, the already existent wetness.

The solution to scarcity is more tech, more radical tech, of vastly greater efficiency. Mere ideology or management is insufficient.




Singularity Utopia defines herself as a superlative mind-explosion expert, specializing in Post-Scarcity awareness via instantiations of Singularity activism, based on the Self-Fulfilling-Prophecy phenomenon.