The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Guido Montani
Reference work entry


The notion of scarcity plays a central role in economic theory. Indeed, some economists consider it essential for a proper definition of economics itself. The best example is perhaps Walras’ definition of social wealth, i.e. economic goods. ‘By social wealth’, says Walras, ‘I mean all things, material or immaterial (it does not matter which in this context), that are scarce, that is to say, on the one hand, useful to us and, on the other hand, only available to us in limited quantity’ (1926, p. 65).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Montani
    • 1
  1. 1.