This paper advances the idea that socio-ecological inquiry could benefit more by analyzing the dynamics between states of scarcity, abundance, and sufficiency (SAS), instead of viewing them as distinct branches of inquiry. The paper identifies three weaknesses in the literature: postulating scarcity, normative opposition of SAS, and conceptual entanglement. In bridging these, the paper proposes a unified agenda for SAS studies. This agenda includes: (a) a definition of the cases (population) of SAS; (b) a causal map of the determinants of SAS; (c) an outline of key strategies individuals employ to handle SAS. This agenda relies on the language of probability to systematize SAS studies. This approach subsumes the allocation problem of neoclassical economics within a super-set of problems. Recalibrating socio-ecological inquiry to research the dynamics of scarcity, abundance, and sufficiency will not only cast new light on old problems, but also discover new problems that traditionally have been reserved for neoclassical economics.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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