Scarcity Reflections

21 May 2021

A little while ago I got to experience data scarcity. My old housemate Derwent moving out and taking their router with them meant our house was briefly returned to the days of yore, from before the Wi’s and the Fi’s were plentiful.

It reminds me greatly of the ideas of scarcity and how quickly humans will adjust to either an abundance or scarcity of each resource.

When there was a water scare in Melbourne I briefly switched to just drinking boiled water.

When I switched phone plans I survived a time without any phone credit.

Each of these made me acutely aware of how much I was consuming and how much I had left.

Another example that feels very relevant is friendship scarcity vs friendship abundance.

When you’re experiencing friendship scarcity you’re likely to be very emotionally invested in every friendship you do have. This can potentially have negative consequences in how your emotional investment may make you seem much more attached in the friendship than seems appropriate to the other friend, or alternatively cause you to be overly accepting of behaviours that aren’t actually beneficial to you and your life goals.

On the flip side of things, if you’re immersed in friendship abundance there’s a chance that you’ll fail to recognise the value of the friendships you currently have, because of a perception that you can easily make many more friends, allowing valuable friendships to atrophy.

One scarcity that I suspect many people relate to recently is that of battery scarcity on their phone. You may be flippant in burning through your battery before you realizing you don’t have a way to charge it.

I suspect a benefit comes from reflecting on the many resources we have in our life and imagining how we’d act if we had each of these in scarcity or in abundance. It should give us a greater appreciation of what we have and a clearer idea of what we want to aim for.

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