Scarcity is always constructed through social or economic patterns and processes. These constructions of scarcity take it away from being an inevitable condition.
The scarcity postulate, which dominates thinking around scarcity states: “Human needs are unlimited but the means to satisfy these needs are limited.” In this received wisdom the statement “human needs are unlimited” remains unchallenged, and scarcity is thus presented as an inevitable. In fact the proliferation of human needs or, more poignantly, human wants is neither necessary nor inevitable: they are too often driven by external forces, for instance by the market as desire-making machine. Scarcity is thus constructed through various means: the creation of false wants, the inequitable distribution of resources, the various cultural definitions of lack, and so on. Constructed scarcities appear most clearly in supply chains and life cycles, where the prioritization of one set of flows leads to unnecessary scarcities elsewhere. It is through intervening in these constructions that designers can best deal with scarcity.
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