Resources are limited, wants are unlimited

This is supposed to be the cause of economic problems – that resources are limited and wants are unlimited. And it should not be an exaggeration to say that this in turn is also the reason behind most of the social problems…

Read “Baaisween Sadee” by Rahul Sankrityayan few days back. It is presented as a narrative of the world of 22nd century by a person from 20th century who had somehow fallen asleep for 200 years in a cave. The world he sees is like an ‘idealized communist country’ or let’s use the word ‘centrally planned economy’ to avoid any taboos associated with it.

And everything is working very well in that world. Everything is being provided to every one by the state, but everything is in plenty. The villages are made on the basis of occupation. All the dirty work is being done by machines. The life and education of people is planned at each stage – right from the birth. All the kids of up to 3 years in a village are being brought up in common nursery. For 3 to 17 years they are being educated in a common system of schools away from their parents. After completing their education they get married to the person of their choice and go to live in a village that suits their professional interest. There is common dining hall for each village, fixed time for meals when everyone eats together. There is negligent amount of crime and diseases and lots of other things.

Of course, one question that might arise is whether this actually is a happy world. The dismissal of individuality may remove the unnecessary ego, but it also removes the joy of uniqueness associated with individuality. But I won’t get into the details of that right here…

The problem with this model arises because it does not recognize the existence of what has been referred to in the title of this post. “Unlimited wants and limited resources”. At many places the narrator says that this worked because people were getting all they wanted, that worked because there was no dirth of any thing. It never really happens. Many of the things he has mentioned there which makes all the people happy, may not even satisfy a middle class person in today’s world itself. Wants grow and grow… There can be moral standing on this – but it stays there. Wants grow and resources will never be able to satisfy those wants. The concept of the novel had come to his mind sometime in 1919 and in the preface to a later edition, he mentions the existence of USSR as almost a prequel to what he is writing about in that book. Alas! USSR does not exist any more… I am not taking a stand on whether it is good or bad. It’s just there.

This entry was posted in Imported from Old Blog, Literature, Thoughts by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

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