The Law of Scarcity

A few weeks ago when I was ready to leave home for Cibubur on a Saturday morning, all of sudden I felt very cold and my body started to shiver. I got high fever. I already knew since the night before that I was contracted with flu and a bad cough, but I didn't know it was that bad. It took three days for my body temperature to get back to normal.

Cough is quite an annoyance, just because it will take several months for me to cure it, no matter what and how many medicines I take. The only cure is time, when I forgot already that I have the disease. It was in one of the terrible moments of coughing, I was thinking about the law of scarcity, without knowing whether the law really exists. It does.

What in my mind was the beauty and joy of times and days when I had no cough. The existence of cough increase my appreciation to and the value of the usual dull life that I have when breathing is not so much of a problem.

The dangerous holes scattered on the streets of Jakarta, that have caused fatal accidents and even more traffic congestion, increase the value of the smooth surface of and traffic on the streets when all the holes have been fixed, hopefully in April.

The hardship that some of Jakartans are facing lately to get kerosene, the worsening floods in several parts of city that reduce the dry area at homes and neighborhoods more frequently and severely than before, have probably made people more appreciative to normal boring dusty time in the dry seasons.

The value of goods, services, things that affect hearts, minds and souls, tend to become higher when they are in limited supply, and will immediately be less appreciated or less of a value when they are fulfilled and become abundant.

Whilst there are valuable applications of the law of scarcity whether in personal relationship, in business, politics, and life in general, I will offer only a few thoughts in blogging.

These are a few things that I have changed lately in TAP (The Aroengbinang Project), partly inspired by the law of scarcity, partly just common sense and a little sense of page design:

  • Reduce the number of posts to be displayed from 8 to 5. Too many pages may make visitors confuse of which one to read. It will also increase the loading time, and remember the law of scarcity that when thing become abundant its value will be diminishing.

  • Cut the length of the shoutbox, as people will not have time to read too many comments anyway, and increase the visual value of the latest shouts.

  • Reduce the number of recent comments to five and reduce the length of the words to be displayed.

  • Reduce the list of top commenters from 20 to 10, from 10 to 7.

  • Reduce the number of rows on Recent Readers at the bottom of the page from 3 to 1, not only to appreciate frequent visitors, but it will hopefully eliminate visual confusion.

  • Cut the number of tags in Label Cloud to just eight, as too many tags may also annoying and confusing. I used to have more than twenty tags, mainly as one of search engine optimization efforts.

There were few other things that I have done with the page to make it more concise and neat, and hopefully will increase a little bit the value of each of the part, albeit they will all be temporarily.

As for the application of the law of scarcity in life, just think a moment or two, and you may find a few very good examples. Just don't feel shy to share it with me and with all of TAP listeners.


  1. 2 taun bersekolah di fakultas ember universitas isu (yang lebih dikenal dengan nama FEUI, ini adalah pengertian scarcity yang dikatakan oleh Ibu Sujanti, dosen pengantar ekonomi 1 saya yang dengan tega ngasi nilai C pertama dalam hidup saya:

    orang ekonomi pasti udah empet banget sama jawaban dari pertanyaan: apakah pengertian dari kelangkaan (scarcity)?

    "kelangkaan adalah keadaan ketika kebutuhan manusia yang tidak tebatas, sementara barang pemuas kebutuhannya terbatas."

    karena keterbatasan itulah kita harus memilih (karena kita gak bisa dapet smua yang kita mau) diantara sekian banyak pilihan itu mana yang paling memuaskan kebutuhan kita. nah karena terbatas pula, setiap barang pasti punya value-nya, berupa biaya yang harus kita bayar. ada actual cost, biaya yang bener2 kita keluarkan untuk mendapat barang tersebut, dan opportunity cost, adalah manfaat yang hilang dari pilihan alternatif karena kita telah memilih pilihan kita.

    alah pusing, intinya gtu sih.

    udah ya oom, udah komen neh.

  2. maklum lah bapakmu ini gak pernah skolah di ekonomi, jadinya gak inget ada hukum begituan.
    makasih ya nduk pesenan komennya udah dikabulkan :D

  3. I also made several changes a few weeks ago, with some, or even most, were adopted from TAP. Thanks!

  4. oo ini soal ekonomi to?

  5. @bleu: hi bleu thanks for the honor :). the pleasure is mine.

    @Ndoro Seten: inggih ndoro, bisa soal apa saja koq.... :D

  6. everywhere we are facing the scarcity of kerosen and petroleum. i used bio-pertamax instead :( it doubled the cost of petroleum for each liter. daily needs cost also increases because of price of petroleum. i guest this is the domino effect. :((

  7. @Agus Sanjaya: on the positive sides, scarcity will hopefully make people aware of options that are available but have never been explored, and will also trigger creative efforts to deal with the sufferings and challenges...

  8. inget2 masa kuliah dulu di fakultas ekonomi juga, dan mata kuliah yang bikin saya agak gondok adalah ekonomi advance wuihhh itu bbikin saya jadi sedikit males kuliah waktu itu