Scarcity: Historicizing the First Principle of Political Economy

This research project examines the political and ideological implications of different ways of framing the relationship between humanity, nature, and the world of goods.

Scarcity can sometimes be viewed as a fact of nature and at other times as a product of historically specific cultural practices. An improved understanding of how political economists have conceptualized scarcity in the past allows for a recognition of alternative worldviews within which new ways of theorizing economic phenomena might emerge. By realizing that past thinkers have conceived of scarcity in a wide variety of ways, this project invites economists to question one of their most inviolable axioms and to start thinking about new ways of framing their analyses.