Scarcity and trade-offs

What can you buy with Rs. 1000?

Here is a list off the top of my head:

  • A meal at a fancy restaurant
  • A month’s premium Netflix subscription
  • A basic set of clothes
  • An electronic toothbrush
  • A train ticket to a faraway place
  • A good pair of earphones
  • A branded badminton racket
  • Groceries for a week
  • A decent pair of sneakers
  • A quality beard trimmer
  • 3 bestselling books

Rs. 1000 can buy you such a wide variety of stuff – some more essential than others. Every spending decision is a trade-off. Every time you spend Rs. 1000 on a purchase, you forego everything else on that list above and a million other purchases.

But if you are fortunate enough to be reading this, Rs. 1000 is not hard to come by. Surely, you didn’t run through a list like this in your mind before you ordered paneer butter masala with garlic naan at a fancy restaurant. Since we have an abundance of Rs.1000s, we do not care as much about the trade-offs involved. However, the poor are acutely aware of them. Rs. 1000 thrown away on a frivolous purchase could mean several hungry days for their family.

The same applies for time as well. You could spend two hours of your time in an equally colourful list of ways – some more valuable than the others. Unlike money though, all of us have a limited amount of time left in this world – an amount that we are never truly aware of.

We are all time poor. Knowing this helps us realize how two hours thrown away on a frivolous experience could have been used in a variety of more fulfilling ways.

Inspiration: Scarcity

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