Last Updated on January 30, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Many people don’t think about it, but their whole life they are fighting with other people for limited resources. This was programmed in us by the evolution, as animals constantly fight for food and reproduction possibility. People obviously need a lot more than just eat and have sex. Thus the battle is more complex, universal, rarely physical and often unnoticed.
For example, if you want to buy a new car, it’s a chain of battles that go on for years, and which you have to win all in order to be in a situation where you can afford it. First, you have to study better than others to be accepted in the university; then you have to compete with other candidates to get a well-paid job; after that, you have to work your ass-off to make a lot of money so that you can afford to buy an expensive new car.
But even with having a lot of money, the battle is not over. There are a lot of things that money can’t buy, for example, a partner. For the attention of the opposite sex, you need to fight all the other companion candidates. Also, many goods are such scarce, that in addition to money, lot of time, effort and connections have to be used to get them. This could be a ticket to a popular show, some rare collector’s item, a limited edition product or buying a property in a desirable place.
I will use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to analyze all different life situations where a person needs to battle other people in other to get what he wants.
1. Physiological needs
On the bottom are basic, physiological needs, such as food, clean water, shelter, clothing etc. These basic needs do not cost much, so the majority of people have them. However, almost 1 billion people live in such poverty, that for them, even affording the basic needs is an everyday struggle. Food, clothing and other basic items are limited resources that not everyone can afford.
2. Safety needs
Second, comes the safety needs, such as property, employment, health and overall security. Property and employment are a great example of a limited recourse. Both of these are related to money, which is one of the most scarce recourses on Earth, even though governments can print it for free. The life of the majority of people spins around money. They go to work every day to earn money, and everything they want life costs money. For the money, they obviously need to compete with other people, because if they are bad at their work, they can get fired and another people will take their place. Many work so hard that they drive themselves into a situation where they are on the verge of burning out, all of this in order to buy things that other people cannot afford. While health and security are not a limited resource, since everyone can be healthy and safe, and it will not affect other people’s health and safety. Access to healthcare and safety is a limited resource. Not all countries can provide it for their citizens, and not all people can afford to pay for it from their own pocket. Thus we have a substantial scarcity of countries that can provide there are needs for their people for free. Which leads to uncontrollable illegal immigration and a battle between immigrants for this limited resource.
3. Love and belonging
Many see that love, friendship and family are not limited resources since people are not a limited recourse. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Love or friendship is not an unlimited resource. Each of us loves only a handful of people, and we may have only several good friends. While there are an infinite amount of people to be friends with or fall in love, everyone wants to interact with only the best people. We want our friends to be smart, nice, friendly, share our interests and be good people in general. When it comes to finding a partner, there are even more demands, such a physical appearance, emotional connection and similar life goals. Even materialistic aspects such as net worth, education, career and status matter to many. Thus it turns out that while people, in general, are an unlimited resource, good people are very scarce. This creates another battle between people, which is very clearly seen on copulation and marital market. But even in normal human interaction, smart, nice and successful people with status, tend to have more friends, than others, and more people, including the opposite sex, wants to interact with then, while they get to chose with whom to be friends with. Clearly, this is also an unfair market, where some have a head-start, while others get nothing.
We need other people to give us or at least acknowledge that we have esteem, respect, status, recognition and power. These are extremely scarce and wanted resources that are aggressively fought for; in business, politics, sports and show business. Less than 1% of all people can honestly say that they possess them at least on some level.
Self-actualization may be the only need that is truly not scarce, as it does not depend on the outside world, but on the inside. However, as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us, you cannot achieve the upper level, until you achieved the level below it, and since recourses of all levels below are scarce, so is the highest one. Of course, there are some exceptions as Buddhist monks, who have achieved self-actualization, without having any other needs fulfilled, except the physiological needs of course, as they would otherwise die. But in general, it is extremely rare, and the majority of the people who have achieved self-actualization have fulfilled other needs at least on a satisfying level.