To begin, it’s important to define resource scarcity, which is essentially when anything that is useful to the species is not available in quantities that are great enough for free distribution for anyone with the demand for these items or services.
It’s considered to be one of the fundamental issues of the study of economics, since the entirety of the capitalist mode of production is summarised as the extraction of raw materials, production, manufacturing, and distribution; the first step is, of course, the extraction of raw materials, of which there is an asymmetrical distribution throughout the world. Resources are obviously required for any venture, especially those that strive for innovation, and the locations of many metals and minerals required for products like microchips and jewelry are dispersed unevenly throughout the world. As demand increases for certain products or services, the essential components for meeting these demands require an input of effort to acquire them, manufacture them, and produce them for consumer consumption.
Scarcity would mean nothing to our species if we didn’t have the following factor that drives all human innovation: the unlimited want. The only real limit is a person’s imagination, and what contributes to it is a drive for the ability to break free from the totalitarian nature of physical law. The desire to be omnipotent—to have absolute control over the material world—has been felt by every thinking person, and it is the very thing that continues to inspire inventions, streamlining our current technology to operate more efficiently, cost less, and so on, and so-forth. Basic needs, however, are limited to the physical make-up of every individual. Some bodies require more vitamins, nutrients, and rest than other bodies, in accordance with genetic variance on a person-to-person basis. This does mean that a number can be attributed to an individual’s necessities, and perhaps future technologies will be able to help meet these demands. They are, of course, the foundations upon which self-actualisation is dependent.
Self-actualisation is defined as the stage at which a person has met their basic needs, and has created a checkmate scenario where the sources of their basic needs are always present, therefore allowing peace of mind with the predictability and therefore stability of their day-to-day life. The pedestrian existence of the sources of their basic needs allows for a stress-free ability to forecast their own future, allowing for the individual to prioritize the development of the self in terms of physical health and body maintenance, obtaining a higher education (and especially having the energy to pursue it fully), as well as making socioeconomic contributions—this last part is important to note, as a person’s legacy is their ultimate value, and legacy is how society remembers an individual.
The elementary method that virtually any animal obtains basic needs is the use of Violence, which is an act of aggression through harm of anyone or anything that stands in the way, and of course the Threat of Violence, understood by the animal that has experienced Violence beforehand. This is the most efficient currency to obtain a resource, and especially one that is scarce, and this currency exchange occurs in human beings today, evidenced by the means of which land is taken, businesses seized, law is implemented, borders are drawn, and the establishment of a monopoly within an industry. Violence may not be as evident in the daily lives of the First World, because it has evolved into using proxies, such as the use of economic violence, which can create long-term harm as opposed to the often short-term effect of physical impact.
As a result of favourable reproductive conditions, including useful genetic conditions such as having a faster ability to process thought and store and recall memory, courtesy of a healthier cerebral cortex, and having healthy amygdalae which result in the ability to process emotions in a way that is more efficient for jobs that produce higher salaries, as well as environments which produce no harmful epigenetic conditions, nor being brought up in environments that damage the body’s central nervous system and internal organs, some are born with objectively more efficient bodies than others to survive and progress in our world that has the capitalist mode of production as its default setting, in accordance to our scarce resources.
These people who have won the genetic lottery, if raised in an environment that nurtures these possible talents, have an easier time at accessing scarce resources, as well as the ability to implement violence to establish and sustain valuable property, specifically the sort that contains scarce resources, creating a monopoly and potential artificial scarcity as this newly-created conqueror and landowner may demand compensation for whatever valuable is found and is in public demand on their territory, often releasing resources at a controlled pace, as demonstrated by the actions of Immortan Joe in the critically acclaimed action film Mad Max: Fury Road—the character was the warlord of a citadel with access to fresh water, only releasing it to the genetically maimed, and therefore weaker people, at a rate that only satisfies them at a bare minimum level.
This is what establishes class differences, and can be summarised with the aforementioned asymmetry in human genetics and the surrounding environment, people fall into classes that are determined by one’s ability to acquire resources. Social mobility, the movement up and down the class ladder, is entirely determined by either expanded or contracted ease of access to goods and services. The ascension or decline is based on whether a person is able to sustain and/or increase the origin and source of their income, and if not, a descent down the ladder will occur.
The impact on the mind and behaviour of the rich is the way it is because the resources that define the rich are not in absolute abundance, they are often isolated from the rest of the world, specifically the demanding hands of the impoverished, resulting in a risk of having assets stolen, creating the necessity for asset security and insurance, resulting in a stressful drive to protect their isolated wealth, including from the hands of those above them seeking to acquire and monopolise their positions; in other words, they are the economic warlords of their own found niche, and they must protect their niche from the economic warlords with greater monopolies.
The isolated wealthy generally limit themselves to interactions with their own social class or higher, which creates a further scarcity of relationships, noting that the lower classes have far less relatable life experiences, as well as the often-perceived taboo of hypogamy, establishing intimate relations down the class ladder, a practice which can impair social status in the self-imposed exclusivity of high society; the resulting effect of the necessity to secure and insure one’s assets is the inability to place trust in others. The abundance of wealth, however, is unmatched in its ability to provide one with a generally stress-free lifestyle, providing ease of access to healthcare, which allows one to work, and education, which allows one to potentially regain lost assets.
The impact on the poor, as stated earlier, is much more damaging. Dreams and ambitions are reserved mostly for those with the capital to pursue them. The working class is too preoccupied with financial anxiety to realise their desires and aspirations. They focus on achieving stability, which is the platform from which social mobility can be smooth and stress-free for the most part. The working class’ pursuit of stability prioritises survival above all else, but for most who have been stricken with poverty comes a low priority for obtaining an education, often due to the stressful environment of poverty itself, leading to health conditions such as the fatigue derived from excessive exposure to stress, causing the acquisition of basic needs and further relaxation and recovery time to be the object of desire, rather than the self-actualisation of marketable skill development. With the impediment of the ability of the impoverished to acquire marketable skills, they end up in low-paying jobs, which fuels the cycle of poverty.
The solution to this is the establishment of post-scarcity economics on a global scale. The erosion of class differences is entirely based on the development and evolution of technology. The capitalist mode of production is never going to go away until it is made obsolete by technological innovation, and if post-capitalist economics are implemented prematurely, a black market will develop to meet demand. The creation of machines that by-pass the necessity to invest time into commodity production renders the final product to be almost free.
If and when ease of access to capital and the means of production is decentralised by means of technological evolution, the cheaper goods and services will be, and the concept of isolated wealth will gradually become obsolete.
A global investment into technological evolution is set to remove the conditions that create the poor, including the obsolescence of the inability to access basic needs. With met basic needs becoming a default scenario, more citizens will have the ability to achieve self-actualisation, and therefore entrepreneurial ventures will become available on-demand.
The impact of post-scarcity on human behaviour would demonstrate just how closely-knit economics is to sociology. With a technologically induced abundance of resources, property will become unnecessary and a novelty (excluding items and places of Sentimental Value in the category of Personal Property). Crime will rapidly decrease, and the use of crime will be limited to those who haven’t yet received mental healthcare. Financial Anxiety will be significantly reduced, since basic needs would essentially be free, and therefore all former members of the various social classes will have far less stress. With lower overall stress, the species will prioritise obtaining an education, further developing technology, and further streamlining the production of absolute abundance, including astronomical advances in healthcare, which will possibly establish an equal opportunity system on a genetic level. Land will no longer have as much value, and borders will become obsolete; whether they will be removed will be up to whether sentimental value will continue to exist.
The scarcity of time, however, would require for at least a technological mastery of matter itself, which is far too complex for our species at this moment. Items, services, or land that has sentimental value to an individual, the value brought by a unique experience, such as an object given to a person by a loved one, rendering it irreplaceable, are limited entirely by what is lost with time.
It is because of these points that there is a guarantee that achieving post-scarcity will not produce any form of utopia. However, our First World living conditions today would probably seem utopian to our ancestors living thousands of years ago.