Why Might Scarcity Be a Cultural Concept?
Scarcity is used to refer to something being desired but is limited and cannot be easily accessed by all those who need it. Societal values seem to guide how an individual will judge scarcity of any item (David 8). The society praises people who have succeeded in making difference in the lives of others. Everyone wants to succeed but the resources are limited. Even with the limited resources, people are expected to give more and better things for them to be recognized in the society.
Anyone who is going to succeed in giving better and more must be ready to sacrifice more. This means that whatever good things people have, they must use it sparingly to avoid spending more in future. Greater sacrifice sometimes means that one misses being with his family, misses sleep or even sacrifices his health. But if he pretends that the resources are enough and there is nothing to sacrifice then he is going miss or breaks some things.
Nothing is ever enough. People will feel a shamed because they lack some things in life. One would choose the things to sacrifice depending on the cultural values he has been brought up with. When everyone in the society only sees that resources are lacking then the term scarcity would always surface (David 60). Even love and safety have become so restricted. People take much of their time looking at what they have, what they need but cannot have at the moment, they then look at how much others have, what they might need among other things.
People have the sense of self-defeat because they compare their lives, families and marriages to those of other people or even of celebrities, who in the actual sense lack more things than them. The so called vision of perfection makes many people in the society to ignore the small things that can give them happiness and concentrate on feeling unworthy, failures and see them as not good enough.
Scarcity cannot be replaced with abundance because that would be impossible. Cultural delusions of thinking that abundance is the answer to scarcity are wrong (David 82). The only solution to scarcity would be contented with what one has; a feeling that one has enough. When one feels that he has enough, he is prone to being vulnerable. It would expose his insecurities, failures and weaknesses to the people around him.
Human beings fear being vulnerable and exposing their weakness to others. The fear is mainly rooted on the shame one would experience as people would not be fair when judging them. Scarcity is in the mind of everyone who has less than he needs (David 98). When one is busy, time would be scarce and so he must efficiently manage the time. Those in poverty also have the same problem when it comes to managing their money.
Scarcity becomes a culture when it occupies the minds of everybody in the society. Globalization has made it even worse; a youth from a poor village in Africa would be able to see a post shared by a rich youth in New York. The poor youth feels jealous of this and sees himself having nothing to celebrate in this life. Focusing on what one lacks instead of what he has is very dangerous and will always leave one with the feeling of being worthless. The modern culture is a culture of never enough.
Early in the morning, what one thinks of first is that he did not get enough sleep. The same thing happens at night when one goes to sleep, he feels he did not complete al the tasks that he should have accomplished. In short, whatever one has, get or do will never be enough for them. Every day one has to go through the painful experience of identifying the things he misses but others have; others look more talented, smarter, peaceful, creative, and lucky among many others (David 115). The problem is that such comparisons are really discouraging and may make one not realize the hidden gifts he has.
This situation makes it hard to be happy. When one cannot have everything in abundance, the only solution is for one to learn how to feel he has enough. Regardless of where one comes from or his perception of scarcity, he can still point to the blessings in his life. The term perceived scarcity has been used in the sentence to show it is not true (David 130). As much as one lacks millions of other things, there are a million other things in his life and only has to look at right lens to see them.
Philosophers refer to this as gratitude; it makes one to be able to see all good things in life instead of concentrating on the bad things. It is very easy to feel and have the scarcity mindset but when one learns to have gratitude for the things he has, then he would have succeeded in evading scarcity and start seeing things in abundance (David 135). It is said that one will never have enough until he learns to appreciate the things he has.
Nowadays people live their life fearful of what might happen if they lose the things people value in their lives. The ego in them makes them believe that they are the ego and that when people see them as useless then their ego is completely destroyed. This fear makes them feel unsafe, they believe in the perception others have of them than on how they see themselves. Philosophers defined scarcity culture as the world formed as a result of separation, fear and attachment.
It is important that people realize that the fact that they lack some things does not mean that they are miserable. It is impossible to have everything; anyone who tries to have everything the world would only bring sadness to themselves (David 156). Scarcity teaches human beings to learn to utilize what they have for the benefit of them and the people around them. There are many good things such as the families we have, the friends who are always there for us, the laughs shared by friends, good health. A place to rest at night should not be taken for granted as there are people who do not have where to sleep.
Role Played by Scarcity
The role of scarcity is to make humans more efficient. Too much of something is never good and would make people lazy. Scarcity is important in ensuring personal development of a person. Once one learns how to deal with scarcity then they would live happier lives. The aspect of scarifies comes up whenever one wants to achieve more with the scarce resources. The sacrifices must not be where others lose for one to win.
The modern society believes that more is better. This is only true when the more talked about is about more love, laughter, connections, friends among other good things. At least when one dies, then the things he worked so hard on would still remain behind in the lives of others (David 220). The scarcity culture is wrong; nobody should concentrate on the things that are scarce. There is a need for change but that cannot happen when nobody is willing to be the example they want to see. The mindset of scarcity is something from within. It has no connection to the assets one has or the cash in the bank account.
The question asked by David Cohen in his book “what matters?” should be in the mind of every person. The cultural delusions would always exist but one must look at the things that he really need for his survival before he allows his fear for what others might say affect his decisions. No need to fear or feel ashamed just because one is not living like everybody else.
Gratitude comes with it a sense of peaceful mind. Competition with others would only cause more strains in a person’s life (David 308). The abundances in someone’s life are enough, they should form the focal point instead of the things lacking in someone’s life. Everyone has the right to enjoy life and live a meaningful life, this can only happen if they learn to never concentrate on scarcity and avoid the pitfalls of scarcity culture and spend more time appreciating the things they have.
Cohen, David. What Matters: “the world’s preeminent photojournalists and thinkers depict essential issues of our time”. Sterling publishing, New York (2008). Print