Economy: Week 2
Myth of Scarcity
Friday, July 6, 2018
Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, identifies three core myths that keep us locked in an economy of scarcity:
There’s not enough to go around. . . . Somebody’s going to be left out. . . . If there’s not enough for everyone, then taking care of yourself and your own, even at others’ expense, seems unfortunate, but unavoidable and somehow valid. . . .
More is better . . . drives a competitive culture of accumulation, acquisition, and greed. . . . [It] distracts us from living more mindfully and richly with what we have. . . . We judge others based on what they have . . . and miss the immeasurable inner gifts they bring to life. . . . Our drive to enlarge our net worth turns us away from discovering and deepening our self-worth. . . .
The belief that we need to possess [more] is the driving force for much of the violence and war, corruption and exploitation on earth. . . . In the campaign to gain, we often pursue our goals at all costs, even at the risk of destroying whole cultures and peoples. . . .
That’s just the way it is, and there’s no way out. There’s not enough to go around, more is definitely better, and the people who have more are always people who are other than us. . . .
[This myth] justifies the greed, prejudice, and inaction that scarcity fosters in our relationship with money and the rest of the human race. For generations, it protected the early American slave trade from which the privileged majority built farms, towns, business empires, and family fortunes, many of which survive today. For more generations it protected and emboldened institutionalized racism, sex discrimination and social and economic discrimination against other ethnic and religious minorities. . . . .
In [our] resignation, we abandon our human potential, and the possibility of contributing to a thriving, equitable, healthy world.
We have to be willing to let go of that’s just the way it is, even if just for a moment, to consider the possibility that there isn’t a way it is or way it isn’t. There is the way we choose to act and what we choose to make of circumstances.
Can we recognize that better comes from not more, but deepening our experience of what’s already there? Rather than growth being external in acquiring and accumulating money or things, can we redefine growth to see it as a recognition of and appreciation for what we already have?
It is a fundamental law of nature, that there is enough and it is finite. Its finiteness is no threat; it creates a more accurate relationship that commands respect, reverence, and managing those resources with the knowledge that they are precious and in ways that do the most good for the most people.
Knowing that there is enough inspires sharing, collaboration, and contribution.
Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life (W. W. Norton & Company: 2017, ©20o3), 49-55, 86-87.