An introduction to the economics of abundance

By Brendan Sheehan

PKES Working Paper 0805

May 2008
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This paper provides a frame of reference for analysing the economic dimensions of inequalities in the human condition in different, but interrelated, economic systems. It introduces the three distinct economic systems – those of scarcity, sufficiency and abundance. The anchor for making inter-system comparisons is the system of scarcity and those who experience it – the people of poverty. From the perspective of the people of poverty it is obvious that other peoples – the peoples of sufficiency and plenty – experience very different economic conditions. The focus of this paper is on the system of abundance and the people of plenty. The aim is to provide a proper appreciation of the distinctive characteristics of a system of abundance – especially the role of the institution of marketing. In the process a contribution to the analysis of the economics of abundance will be developed.


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