Scarcity

5 Items

Scarcity

Introduction

Toilet paper runs out. Your friend’s Honda can only seat 5. And you can’t be at two different parties at the same time. These are facts of life. They’re also instances of one of the most basic facts of life: scarcity.

We all have wants (like having fun at a party). Satisfying those wants takes resources (like a ride to the party). And resources are limited (like a car being only so big).

Wants, on the other hand, are limitless.

We can always dream up new ways to enjoy life and reduce suffering with whatever remaining “stuff” we have (like using an extra car seat to transport a piñata!).

Scarcity is the fundamental challenge of life. But economics empowers us to meet that challenge by helping us understand it.

Learning Objectives

Students will understand that:

  • Resources are required to satisfy wants.
  • Resources are scarce: limited relative to human wants.
  • Some wants can be satisfied only at the expense of others.
  • People must choose among alternative uses for scarce resources.

How to Use These Materials

Students can view the following essays and videos in any order, although we recommend starting with the next page. Teachers can use these as stand-alone lessons or plug them into your own lesson plan. Our quizzes can be taken here or embedded into your Google Classroom assignments.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].