Scarcity: Historicizing the First Principle of Political Economy


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project explores the changing conceptual nature of scarcity from early modern Aristotelian-influenced thinking to modern neo-classical economics. Despite a general recognition of scarcity's centrality to political economy throughout the discipline's history, limited attention has been focused on how the notion of scarcity has evolved over time. In tracing how scarcity can sometimes be viewed as a fact of nature and other times as a product of historically-specific cultural practices, this study examines the political and ideological implications of different ways of framing the relationship between humanity, nature, and the world of goods.