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28. The Scarcity Principle

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

The 'chase', flowers for dead people and spending amply when there is a temporary supply of money (soon to realise that you now don't have any money) are all somehow related by what is known as the scarcity principle. Although you may not be familiar with its title, the scarcity principle in action is something that you will no doubt be familiar with or a victim of. Let us first relay what the scarcity principle is to make things a whole heap clearer. The scarcity principle can be described as the tendency to place a higher value on things that are perceived as rare while devaluing things that seem as common or abundant. Basically, when a thing appears to be unavailable it becomes more desirable. The infamously known 'chase' in relationships can be a premium example.

Have heard of playing hard to get? This 'chase' in pursuit of this unavailable person is the epitome of the scarcity principle. What makes the 'chase' in relationships have such an appeal? 'Chasing' someone can often be described as a thrill, the unknown realm of this inaccessible source releases pleasurable hormones such as dopamine and adrenaline in which one acquires from having a crush on someone. It is natural for one to chase and have a crush on someone that is physically attractive or successful in their career to often validate one's own self worth. Subconsciously, in crushing on an unattainable being, one may just be seeking their own self-validation to make one feel more secure about themselves.

Another plausible theory of this chase is being committed to not being committed. That's totally okay too. Monogamy may not be in one's set path right now and the chase may just be what fulfils one's romantic or sexual life (as long as you're not harming yourself or anyone else). These reasons result in the chase being a hard habit to break because the cyclical nature of the excitement and wonder may be the most desirable parts of the dating experience. Psychologically, humans are enticed by this chase in its promotion of self-validation, release of pleasure hormones and committing to the adverse of not committing.

However, what are the implications of this so-called scarcity principle? The scarcity principle can actually be a dangerous behaviour to harvest in one's repertoire. A behavioural repertoire is a psychological concept that describes the full range of behaviours that a person is capable of. If you build a habitual routine of implementing the scarcity principle into your behavioural repertoire it can potentially be harmful. Think of the scarcity principle in an economical context. Salespeople manipulate the scarcity principle all the time right in front of our eyes. "Only X left!" "Limited time only!" "Sale on now!" By making a source appear limited, we are deceived to think that it is more valuable than it really is. A purchase ought to be made quickly because if others had purchased it before - so it must be good, right?

Can you see how the implication of the scarcity principle could actually be hazardous? The deception involved in its application can harbour emotional and rash decisions, especially in the case of money. Once a surge of urgency is created by the principle, it promotes rash decisions made without appropriate regulation of the realistic consequences.

I also mentioned in the first paragraph some odd reference to flowers for dead people. This idea stemmed from something that I saw in my psychology textbook. Something was said along the lines of the following: dead people receive more flowers than living because regret is a stronger feeling than gratitude. The source (the dead person) is scarce (null because they're dead) and therefore is another notion affected by our infamously beloved scarcity principle. Furthermore, not knowing what you have until it is gone is a prominent thought to consider alongside the scarcity principle. What the absence of someone or something entirely does is reiterate the actual value of such thing.

I don't want to sound like one of those absurd conspiracy theorists but... the scarcity principle is real! And sometimes it can actually be dangerous. Don't let yourself be another victim of the scarcity principle. As humans though, that can actually be a difficult thing to control. We can be more aware of our behaviours and try and work out why we make the decisions that we do. But also, as more of a concrete solution, give someone some flowers spontaneously to tell them that you appreciate them. I'm sure that they will be very grateful!

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This blog will encompass the life of a 19-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations, videos and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface.For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected twice a week. Take this present moment now and rock it!

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