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Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having humans who have unlimited wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs. Alternatively, scarcity implies that not all of society's goals can be pursued at the same time; trade-offs are made of one good against others. In an influential 1932 essay, Lionel Robbins defined economics as "the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses." For more information on Goods, please refer to this guide Export goods.

In biology, scarcity can refer to the uncommonness or rarity of certain species. Such species are often protected by local, national or international law in order to prevent extinction.Economists study (among other things) how societies perform the allocation of these resources — along with how communities often fail to attain optimality and are instead inefficient. More clearly scarcity is our infinite wants hitting up against finite resources.

Certain goods are likely to remain inherently scarce by definition or by design; examples include land and positional goods such as awards generated by honor systems, fame, and membership of elite social groups. These things are said to derive all or most of their value from their scarcity. Even in a theoretical post scarcity society, certain goods, such as desirable land and original art pieces, would most likely remain scarce. But these may be seen as examples of artificial scarcity, reflecting societal institutions - for instance, the resource cost of giving someone the title of "knight of the realm" is much less than the value that individuals attach to that title.



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