A Polaroid photograph of an empty shopping cart in front of a brick wall

                      Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

 

Scarcity was with us long before images of empty store shelves and news stories offering explanations for the absence of yeast or Lysol or Mason jars. In fact, the idea of scarcity has been baked into economics and society to such a degree and for so long (at least in the US; your mileage may vary–L) that we think of everything from toilet paper to money to political power as finite resources to be acquired and closely guarded.

On this episode of the podcast, we’re talking about scarcity, both the economic concept and how it plays out in our daily lives. Along the way, we’ll discuss sneaker drops, free markets, living wages, human nature, and moments when instinct takes over. We also dedicate our Flipping the News segment to examining the financial aftermath of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

As always, we want to hear from you: how have your shopping habits changed over the past year? How about your idea of what it means to have enough? Join the conversation in the pinned post on our Facebook page or by replying to our pinned tweet (@financeflipside). Let us know if you’d be comfortable with our reading your comments on our next episode (we won’t use your name unless you indicate that it’s okay to do so).

Expanded show notes and bonus links are under the cut.

 

Mentioned on the show:

 

Flipping the News

The Guardian investigates The Club for Growth, billionaire Republican lobbying group that has taken a turn into funding challenges to the 2020 presidential election.

Also from the Guardian: My Pillow meets martial law.

From Bloomberg: Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan pause their political spending in the wake of the attempted coup at the Capitol.

From Axios: Facebook takes a quarter-long break from political donations as well.

 

The Main Event

The IMF explains supply and demand.

From Investopedia: Understanding the scarcity principle.

From Marketwatch.com: Examining pandemic-induced gaps in the supply chain.

This article from Medium’s Marker blog explains what most reporting gets wrong about the toilet paper shortage.

From the New Republic: Rotten Vegetables, Empty Luxury Apartments, and Fake Scarcity

Also from Marker: The Pandemic Has Turned Us All Into Hoarders

From The Washington Post: Data spanning 50 years and 15 countries shows that supply side (or “trickle down”) economics benefit the wealthy, but don’t do much for the economy as a whole.

Bonus:

How mutual aid has stepped into the gaps left by stimulus payments. (Truthout)

Post-Scarcity Economics (LA Review of Books)

Consumer Culture: A Brief History (Quartz)

This is about personal financial planning, but is worth considering on a larger scale: The #1 New Year’s Resolution To Try For 2021: Determine Your Enough (Forbes)