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Scarcity and Compassion Essay

According to the Oxford dictionary, scarcity is the same as shortage or presence in small numbers. In economics, scarcity is defined as the condition whereby human wants and needs exceed what is produced or what can be produced by the available resources (Harford, 2006). On the other hand, compassion is the belief in fairness in distribution of resources our humane aspects should not allow us to see others live without resources while we are capacitated to provide to them.

Economists have pointed out over the disagreement between these two aspects as one calling for equitable distribution of resources to all persons while the other points out equal distribution of resources is impossible as there are no enough resources for everyone. Scarcity thus explains the presence of the rich and the poor. Compassion plays a big role as evidenced by empirical evidence on the ground especially on international level. Wealthy nations have always made attempts to make some of their resources available to poor nations (Harford, 2006).

Note that, the resources given away as aid are not excess/ surplus resources per se. They are obtained from the taxpayer’s money whereby taxpayers could have allocated such resources in more economically viable options. Therefore, compassion by nations and/or on a household level continues to play great role in distribution of scarce resources. The fact that man is a social animal ties him to the idea of sharing his economic resources with the ones deprived of those resources.

The knowledge by an individual of the suffering of another due to lack of resources either acting on a household level or any economic unit drives that individual to make decisions and/or implement policies that will favor the underprivileged according to his view. This explains why there are tax cuts and social benefits to the low income earners and unemployed respectively. Thus compassion plays and continues to play a significant role in the distribution of scarce resources.


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