According to exponents of the Law of Attraction, the conditions that you focus the most upon are the conditions that you will manifest. And while naysayers will mock and argue against that philosophical system, the Law of Attraction crowd has stumbled upon an actual economic truth. The way businesses, governments, and individuals think is one of the market forces that drive the economy.
If an individual or company believes that there is a crisis of scarcity, they can actually create one though their actions. For instance, it does not take a national disaster or shipping strike to create a shortage of toilet paper. All it actually takes is for people to believe that there is a toilet paper shortage for the shelves at the local stores to be stripped bare of that item.
On December 19, 1973, Johnny Carson in his monologue said, “You know what’s disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States.” The next day, the shelves of stores were stripped bare of toilet paper.
While the joke is hard to believe today, in the early seventies the United States faced one shortage after another. The biggest shortage was oil, resulting in long lines at gas stations. When Johnny Carson’s twenty million viewers heard him joke about there being a toilet paper shortage, they reacted the next day by buying as much toilet paper as they could. They were focused on scarcity; they believed there was a scarcity; they created a scarcity.
Other people seeing that the shelves were being stripped bare of toilet paper jumped on the bandwagon. They too brought as much toilet paper as they could. Even Johnny Carson apologizing, admitting that it was just a joke, did little to offset the now very real shortage. For a month, toilet paper was simply in short supply. All because of a joke and the mindset of those who heard it.
In economics, those who are prone to thinking that there is a limited amount of resources are called zero-sum thinkers. In the world of the zero-sum, for one person to win, another person has to lose. On the other end of the scale are the win-win thinkers, people who believe that everyone can win and benefit at the same time.
A company that exists in the zero-sum mindset will do its best to grab as big of a market share as it can while crushing the competition. After all, there are only so many resources and customers to go around.
A company in the win-win mode, on the other hand, is more likely to focus on improving their product, creating new ways of doing things, and growing their customer base (as in bringing new completely new customers in rather than stealing customers from their competition). After all, the global population is growing; there are more than enough customers to go around; and there are needs and desires that we have not even thought of yet.
Unfortunately, most companies, governments, and individuals are zero-sum thinkers. We are taught in our culture to believe that there are limited resources (oil, jobs, customers, etc). It is hard for most people to see that there are some unlimited resources that exist (for instance solar and wind power, product ideas, etc).
Often this results in people taking the route of the sure thing. For instance, they take a job that they are unhappy with because the business they are working for already exists. Some of these people would actually be better off starting their own business instead. However, while they are trapped in the mindset of scarcity, they will act as if all the business opportunities are already taken by existing companies. This type of thinking leads to a scarcity of efficiency.
On a personal level, the stress of living in a zero-sum universe, where scarcity is a fact, causes people eventually to have health issues. This is turn leads to large health care bills, and the scarcity of one’s thinking comes home to roost.
In short, by focusing on scarcity, people act as if scarcity is the most important force in the economy, and end up creating the very scarcities that they worry about.