The Phenomenon of Scarcity: Being, Man and Community

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute and the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute presents a multidisciplinary study “The Phenomenon of Scarcity: Being, Man and Community”.

In this study scholars analyze the concept of scarcity from various perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. Scarcity is perceived and explored in its universal and broadest sense – as privation, deficiency, lack and frailty. The goal of the study is to broaden our understanding of the meaning of scarcity and how it affects our daily lives. Both in the field of economics and in the social domain scarcity is commonly perceived as a negative phenomenon. This tendency can be explained by the fact that academic research on scarcity has been discipline-specific and quite fragmentary, as well as by the experience of discomfort and insecurity that scarcity engenders when one is faced with it.

The various essays present an in depth inquiry into scarcity and its diverse aspects across a range of disciplines. They provide a comprehensive account of the phenomenon of scarcity and allow us to explain the role of scarcity in existential being, in the individual and in society. This research project shows that scarcity is an immanent and essential characteristic of the world and man. The starting point of the research is the actions of imperfect and moral human beings in a world characterized by limitations, actions which are constantly prompted by scarcity. The authors discuss how deficiencies are overcome, how goods are multiplied, and why scarcity is a precondition for freedom and cooperation.

Philosophers and theologians examine the ontological origin of scarcity as well as its place and purpose in the structure of being. With ancient Greek philosophy as a starting point,  they explain the primordial purpose of scarcity and its relationship with other ontological causes – matter and form – and elaborate on scarcity as a cause of creation and change. Psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and economists analyze the phenomena that arise from scarcity, their impact on man and public perceptions of scarcity. Scarcity in everyday life is both a stimulus to create, learn, grow and cooperate as well as a source of insecurity which needs to be reduced or eliminated. Research shows that a conscious understanding of the role of scarcity in the structure of being helps to accept the challenges it poses and opens the way for reconciliation with oneself and the surrounding world.

Particular attention is paid to the links between scarcity, liberty and morality. Scarcity provides the opportunity for change, and a free individual makes choices in line with his moral convictions.

You may read the study “The Phenomenon of Scarcity: Being, Man and Community” here.

A review of the study is available from the Journal of Markets and Morality below.

Subačius, P. 2017. The Phenomenon of Scarcity: Being, Man and Society by Elena Leontjeva, Aneta Vainė, Marija Vyšniauskaitė (eds), Journal of Markets and Morality, 20(2): 354-356.