Scarcity, "Polite Society" and Activism

by Nicholas Hildyard

first published 30 June 2018

Scarcity has a stranglehold grip on much of the discourse of polite society, to the point where it is simply taken for granted that just about every social “problem” is, at root, a problem that arises from scarcity. Numerous conflicts result. And the dominant perspective is constantly being challenged by unpolite society.

But the stranglehold remains. Does the problem lie in a failure of activist to shout loudly enough? Or to expose the ways in which scarcity is generated by unequal power relations? Or does the continuing appeal of scarcity reflect a more fundamental problem, rooted as much in the ways that progressive activists are themselves organising as in the well-documented power of today's elites?