Modern Economist Lionel Robbins had given the scarcity definition of economics. He was a British scholar and professor of Economics at the ‘London School of Economics’.
He published his book ‘An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economics Sciences’ in 1932 A.D. and defined Economics as the science of Scarcity and Choice. Everyone considers his definition as the most scientific and analytical definition on several grounds.
According to Lionel Robbins, Economics is the science which studies unlimited ends (wants) and scarce means (resources) which have alternative uses.
Many Modern Economists like Karl Manger, Peter, Stigler, etc. support this definition.
Features/Characteristics of Scarcity Definition:-
- Unlimited Wants:-
According to Robbins, once we fulfill our wants then another wants crop up in our mind automatically. In this way, human wants are unlimited and the resources to fulfill them are limited.
2. It is a positive science:-
Lionel Robbins said that Economics is a positive science which only explains the real situation or what is happening without any value judgment.
3. Alternative use of resources:-
According to this definition, there are scarce resources to fulfill unlimited human wants. However, we can use their alternative uses i.e. use here for one purpose and use there for another purpose to fulfill our needs.
4. It is the science of choice:-
When we put together all alternative uses of scarce resources, there arises the problem of choice. So it helps to choose the more urgent and important need among them.
Characteristics of Scarcity and Choice Definition:-
- It neglects burning issues of the modern economy:-
The critics said that Robbins was unable to address the burning issues of the modern economy like unemployment, poverty, inequality, economic growth, etc.
2. Unnecessary emphasis on scarcity:-
according to Robbins, only scarce resources cause the problems but in the view of critics, economic problems arise from plenty of resources and overproduction.
3. Similar to Marshall’s definition:-
Marshall said that we should use for the maximum material welfare whereas we should use scarce resources for maximum satisfaction according to Robbins. In this way, they are similar.
4. Limited to the only allocation of resources:-
According to critics, this definition is only based on the allocation of resources. So, it should study also about production, distribution, exchange, consumption, and utilization of resources.
Principles of Economics of Grade 11
We hope it helped you to know a little bit about the scarcity definition.