Scarcity is fewer resources than are needed to fill human wants and needs. These resources can be resources that come from the land, labor resources or capital resources. Scarcity is considered a basic economic problem.
Scarcity dictates that economic decisions must be made regularly in order to manage the availability of resources to meet human needs.
Some examples of scarcity include:
- The gasoline shortage in the 1970's
- After poor weather, corn crops did not grow resulting in a scarcity of food for people and animals and ethanol for fuel.
- Over-fishing can result in a scarcity of a type of fish.
- Fewer farmers raising cattle can result in a scarcity of milk and cheese.
- An embargo on imports from a country can result in a scarcity of the resources that country exports.
- Due to politics regarding a dam in Gujarat, water has become scarce.
- Coal is used to create energy; the limited amount of this resource that can be mined is an example of scarcity.
- Those without access to clean water are experiencing a scarcity of water.
- In 2012, avian flu wiped out millions of chickens in Mexico creating a scarcity of eggs, a stable of the Mexican diet.
- Revealing that a population of cattle in a country has Mad Cow disease, resulting in a need to slaughter the animals, could result in a scarcity of beef in the country.
- Over-hunting of an animal population could make it scarce.
- Refusal of pharmaceutical companies to create drugs that do not make large profits can cause medication of certain types to be scarce.
- Each year a limited amount of the flu vaccine is available to the population, meaning there is not enough for each individual to be vaccinated. This is scarcity.
- When hurricanes have incapacitated refineries on the Gulf Coast, oil prices increase because of the possibility of scarcity of gas for vehicles.
- Because of a conflict preventing individuals to visit their farms, residents of Alavanyo in Ghana have a food scarcity.
- Flooding in Nigeria washed farmlands away and has the potential to create a scarcity of food for the residents of the nation.
- An undereducated population in a country that needs high level skilled workers can result in a scarcity of labor.
- A disenfranchised population may not volunteer for military services, resulting in the scarcity of individuals to protect the nation.
- Recent proposed gun legislation in the United States has caused individuals to hoard ammunition, leaving a scarcity of ammunition.
- Those who live in harsh climates in which it can be hard for transportation to reach them can experience food shortages if weather prevents delivery.
- The depletion of forests in Thailand has led to a scarcity of wood, forcing individuals to take wood from demolished buildings in order to build new ones.
- Waste of water through long showers or allowing water to run while brushing one's teeth can contribute to a scarcity of water.
All of these are examples of scarcity because there was not a sufficient amount of the resource to go around.