Scarcity, Control and Fear

A basic premise in marketing is to create a demand for your product. One of the tricks of creating a demand is scarcity. The scarcer something is, the more valuable it will seem and presumedly the more people will be willing to pay for it. Think oil, gold and diamonds, for example. Scarcity also creates in some people a desire to have that scarce commodity whether because of wanting to feel different or better by having such a scarce substance or the desire to be seen as special and therefore possess more power than others.

Scarcity has also been used throughout history as a means of control. Consider this, if Germany had not been in such dire straights, such dismal economic conditions, if jobs and food had not been so scarce – would Hitler have risen to power? Or perhaps a more general question – if millions of people hadn’t been convinced that we were running out oil, clean air and polar ice caps, would so many of us be so scared we were going to kill the planet? Or feel we had to come up with alternate solutions (even bad, expensive, unworkable solutions) to deal with that fear of scarcity?

For example, the United States has lots of oil. However, we’re not allowed to drill for it. Our government has essentially ensured that we cannot tap our own resources. How? By creating other scarcities, from animal and plant species to clean air to clean water and other reasons why we dare not tap resources that might create other scarcities.

The tactics used are many and varied – however the most effective among them is fear. Fear that the planet will be killed or destroyed. Fear that we’ll all be wearing gas masks. Fear that we will die because we have no clean water to drink. Fear that if we don’t get our unemployment checks we will starve. Fear that if taxes aren’t raised the national debt will just continue to rise and never be paid off and our children will become slaves. Fear that if we don’t allow the government to grope us at airports we will be blown up by domestic extremists. Fear that if ordinary citizens are permitted to own guns that crime will rise. And the list goes on.

When people are scared they are ever so easy to control. Don’t believe me, think about this – ever been in a situation that scared you? Your adrenaline is pumping, you are confused, you don’t know what to do. And then suddenly some cool-headed person steps in and takes charge, directs other people’s actions, makes things happen and gets the situation under control. Think car accident. Think house fire. Or even family emergency. We’ve all been there, something devastating and terrible happens and we lose it. We can’t think, in some cases maybe we can’t even move. And thank God somebody came along who had a cool head and could think in a crisis. Had they not, God only knows what might have happened – how much worse things might have turned out. And so maybe the next time something terrible happens we look to that person, rather than ourselves to get things under control. We give power over to that person, rather than address the situation ourselves. Soon, whenever that type of situation rears its ugly head, we wait for that special talented person to take care of it for us, perhaps even giving up our own control or ownership of a situation. And before we know it, we think what we are told to think, do as we are told and simply have no choice but to go along.

If you think about it the concept of scarcity is actually pretty ridiculous. Just do a cursory study of planet Earth and all her natural resources – not the least of which is the human race. Without the human race we would not have any kind of machinery, power, agriculture, technology, art, music, literature, etc. Though human beings have gotten a horrible rap of late for their greedieness and consumption, few have acknowledged what human beings have brought to the planet. In fact, if not for human beings you would not be reading this post. There would be no Internet, no computers, no cell phones, facebook, twitter, text messaging nor commerce – heck there wouldn’t even be green technology. I submit that mankind has more than contributed to life on this planet and will continue to do so, as long as it exists. And it is man’s ability to think, consider, and create that has enabled us to evolve and live better, more interesting and productive lives. There is no scarcity of ideas or solutions – yet we seem to be convinced that there are.

Today we are told there is a scarcity of jobs. Well, I suppose that is true in a way – however not quite. If you haven’t been living in a cave you may have read articles discussing the fact that businesses throughout the United States have lots of funds that they are sitting on and not using. They are not hiring and they are not expanding their businesses. The resources are there, but they are not using them. Why? Because the business world is expecting scarcity. They are expecting that their profits will dwindle because of new taxes and government regulations. They are expecting they will not be able to compete and do business without further and additional restrictions, that they will have less control over their businesses, the decisions they can make and fewer options. So, the scarcity vicious cycle is creating even more scarcity than has been created. And this scarcity perpetuates more scarcity – because people believe there are no jobs, that no one has any money and even if there is money that no one will spend it and so they look to the government to make up that scarcity rather than put on their thinking caps and resolve their own situations.

I believe that as long as anyone believes in scarcity, they will continue to be controlled and manipulated. I also believe there is no scarcity of anything, anywhere on this planet. If an animal or plant species dies out, other and new species come along and take their place. When sources of oil or other resources dry out, others are found or resources that can replace their function are discovered and created. If we all just believed in abundance for all of us, perhaps we’d discover that indeed abundance exists everywhere we look.

copyright 2010


I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. In our crazy, whacked-out world it is so easy to look around and see what is lacking – social graces, caring, humanity, friendliness, affordable gas, tomatoes that have flavor, the dating pool. You name it – one can always find a scarcity in any category. And sequeing into envy and jealousy is really not anything more than the next natural step. “Hey, why do they have all the luck? He has so much why can’t I get any? What’s the matter with me? I’m a good person, I deserve things too.”

I’m more than guilty of the above and then some. In my life, I have probably spent what has amounted to years in lamenting my fate, my lack, my scarcity. Is it any wonder than I’ve never really had anything? Nope, that’s a no brainer too.

A couple of years back, I started a quest to discover how other people seem to bypass the whole scarcity thing and seem to reap nothing but abundance. I even had some up close and personal examples in my life. Friends, former co-workers, even former lovers who seemed to have learned the secret of the universe of abundance. I studied them – what made them different from me?

At first, I thought it was ego – or self confidence or even naivete’. It seemed that in the face of the obvious they went about their business anyway. They chose what they did and how they did it and managed to not just eke out a life but create an enviable one. I studied them some more. Never really being able to put my finger on just what ‘it’ was about them. Heck, I even tried to emulate them – which was laughable because I really didn’t know what they were doing so trying to pretend to be them was beyond my payscale, so to speak.

Since I left the 9 to 5 workaday world, I’ve had some interesting experiences, some good, some not so good. But overall, I found I’ve been happy. Ironic as it may seem, being without a ‘job’ has not resulted in scarcity for me. Well, perhaps a temporary cash-flow problem but that’s easy enough to get around, much moreso than I’d ever imagined. I found I just decided to believe in myself and my goals and somehow, whatever I’ve needed so far, has come to me in ways obvious and surprising.

I’ve also discovered that there really isn’t any scarcity in the world. Sure, there are those whose interests are served to make people believe that there are and even go so far as to manipulate things so that one could ‘prove’ that there are – but anyone with half a brain has only to look around them and see that there is abundance everywhere.

For example, do you see any shortage of sky or grass or flowers or birds? Any shortage of air? Ideas? Goals? Dreams? I don’t. A few weeks ago, I noticed on my morning walks that there were a lot of cans and bottles just lying around on the ground. And I would think to myself, ‘jeez, some people are pigs.’ Then I decided to look at it differently. I started carrying a plastic bag with me and whenever I see a bottle or can now, I pick it up and put it in the bag and think to myself, ‘Oh look, someone left me a gift.’ Then I take it home and throw it in my trunk. In a very short time, I’ve managed to half fill my trunk with recyclables. It took no effort on my part beyond carrying a bag and bending over to pick something up – and for that I will be rewarded with money. Once the trunk is full, I’ll drive it all down to the recycling center for some pocket change. Will it make me rich? No, I don’t think so – but I do something good and the universe rewards me by paying me. I think that’s a real win-win situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always successful in seeing the abundance instead of the scarcity and sometimes I get worried and upset. But much less than ever before. And I truly believe if one ever wants to truly have abundance they have to be able to see it, not just in the future but in the now. In the right now, this very minute. They have to be able to look around and see all the wonderful things in their lives – see how much they really have and value it and be grateful for it. That, my friends, I think is the real secret to solving scarcity – seeing the abundance.

What do you think?