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Scarcity vs. Abundance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 11, 2023
Scarcity is the limited availability of resources, whereas abundance is the plentiful availability.

Key Differences

Scarcity implies a state where resources are limited and hard to obtain, causing competition and value appreciation. Abundance, on the other hand, denotes a situation where resources are plentiful, easily accessible, and often undervalued due to their copious nature.
In the context of economics, scarcity drives prices up as the demand for a rare resource increases. In contrast, abundance can lead to lower prices due to the saturation of the market with the plentiful resource.
Scarcity often requires careful management and strategic planning to ensure fair distribution and conservation. Abundance allows for more liberal use and often leads to waste due to the perceived endless supply.
Scarcity can breed innovation as the need to optimize limited resources sparks creativity. Abundance, conversely, might reduce the incentive for innovation since there's less pressure to use resources efficiently.
Psychologically, scarcity can lead to a scarcity mindset, where individuals believe resources are always limited. An abundance mindset stems from believing that there are enough resources for everyone, fostering generosity and openness.

Comparison Chart



Economic Impact

Increases prices
Decreases prices

Resource Management

Requires careful planning
Allows liberal use

Innovation Incentive

High, due to resource constraints
Lower, due to ample resources

Psychological Mindset

Scarcity mindset, fear of not having enough
Abundance mindset, belief in sufficiency

Scarcity and Abundance Definitions


Scarcity of food led to widespread hunger in the region.


She lived a life of abundance, with ample resources at her disposal.


The scarcity of diamonds adds to their allure and value.


The abundance of information online can be overwhelming.


The scarcity of affordable housing is a growing concern.


The garden was in full bloom, showcasing an abundance of colors.


Economic Condition
The scarcity of skilled workers drives up their salaries.


Overflowing Quantity
The abundance of enthusiasm among the volunteers was contagious.


Limited Availability
The scarcity of water in the desert makes it a precious resource.


Plentiful Supply
There's an abundance of apples in the orchard this year.


Insufficiency of amount or supply; shortage
A scarcity of food that was caused by drought.


A great or plentiful amount
An abundance of rain.


Rarity of appearance or occurrence
Antiques that are valued for their scarcity.


The condition of being in rich supply
Bananas growing in abundance.


(uncountable) The condition of something being scarce or deficient.


Degree of plentifulness
"Species of low abundance are ignored in the calculation of predominance" (William M. Lewis).


(countable) An inadequate amount of something; a shortage.
A scarcity of grain


(Chemistry) The amount of an isotope of an element that exists in nature, usually expressed as a percentage of the total amount of all isotopes of the element.


A small and inadequate amount


Affluence; prosperity
Living in abundance.


A large quantity; many.
Due to the abundance of art material, the class made a giant collage.
There is not a great abundance of time, so please don't dwadle.


An overflowing fullness or ample sufficiency; profusion; copious supply; superfluity; plentifulness.


Wealth; affluence; plentiful amount of resources.


Frequency, amount, ratio of something within a given environment or sample.


(card games) A bid to take nine or more tricks in solo whist.


(Scotland) enough, sufficiency.


An overflowing fullness; ample sufficiency; great plenty; profusion; copious supply; superfluity; wealth: - strictly applicable to quantity only, but sometimes used of number.
It is lamentable to remember what abundance of noble blood hath been shed with small benefit to the Christian state.


The property of a more than adequate quantity or supply;
An age of abundance


(physics) the ratio of the number of atoms of a specific isotope of an element to the total number of isotopes present


(chemistry) the ratio of the total mass of an element in the earth's crust to the total mass of the earth's crust; expressed as a percentage or in parts per million


What is abundance

Abundance implies a situation where resources are plentiful.

What is scarcity

Scarcity refers to the limited availability of resources.

Can scarcity lead to innovation

Yes, scarcity can foster creativity and innovation due to the need for efficient resource use.

Does abundance always lead to lower prices

Generally, yes, due to the oversupply and reduced demand.

Can a society transition from scarcity to abundance

Yes, through technological advancements and efficient resource management.

What is a scarcity mindset

It's the belief that resources are always limited and must be competed for.

How does scarcity affect prices

Scarcity often leads to higher prices due to increased demand and limited supply.

What is an abundance mindset

It’s the belief that there are enough resources for everyone, promoting generosity.

Does scarcity always mean a shortage

Not always, it can also mean limited availability without a crisis.

How does scarcity affect consumer behavior

Scarcity can create urgency and increase the perceived value of an item.

Does scarcity always lead to conflict

It can, especially when vital resources are scarce and highly sought after.

Is abundance always beneficial

Not necessarily, as it can lead to waste and decreased value.

Is scarcity always negative

Not necessarily, it can drive progress and careful resource management.

What are examples of scarce resources

Clean water, rare minerals, and skilled labor are some examples.

Can abundance be overwhelming

Yes, too much of something can lead to difficulty in managing or appreciating it.

Can abundance be sustainable

Yes, if managed wisely and resources are renewable.

What are examples of abundant resources

Air, sunlight, and digital content are often abundant.

Can abundance lead to complacency

Yes, when resources are abundant, there's less incentive to use them efficiently.

How does abundance affect culture

It can foster a culture of generosity and open sharing.

Can technology create abundance

Yes, by improving resource efficiency and creating alternatives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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