Perceived scarcity happens when we want a limited resource that other people want too. Scarcity fuels desire; scarcity leads to suffering. By definition, most people cannot enjoy scarce goods.

To me, scarcity is like the first law of existence. Whatever you want, if it's out there and others want it too, then the law of scarcity applies. Bottom line: if what you want is a resource available to others and it is generally desirable, it becomes scarce, with all that implies. Scarcity implies that suffering is inevitable, that competition is inevitable, that there will always be losers. Time is a scarce resource; affection is a scarce resource; love is a scarce resource; status (being admired, looked up to) is a scarce resource; power is a scarce resource. Receiving attention is a zero-sum game: if it goes to you, that means it does not go somewhere else; the regard of others is a scarce resource.

Without scarcity, what motivates us? I often fantasize about living forever because I’m just so curious about what's going to happen with the world, but when I think about it, eternal consciousness without connection and touching seems unbearable. And for connection and touching to be meaningful, it has to be voluntary and to be voluntary, there needs to be a choice. And for there to be a choice, there needs to be alternative objects of affection. And here we come around to scarcity as a limited resource that has alternative uses.

Scarcity gives life meaning.