[ 23/11/20 ]
They are not.
There is not a scarcity of oxygen.
It is arguably the most important of all commodities, and it is present in abundance, and because of that abundance, it has no economic value.
And that is one of the key issues we face today – that economic value has a scarcity component. If there is no scarcity, there is no economic value – by definition.
Thus, in our current economic system, there is zero incentive to meet the reasonable needs of everyone, because to do so would remove all economic value.
And that does take a bit of seriously deep thought to get really clear about. It brings into question most of the unquestioned assumptions behind most of economic thought and most current social systems.
And there are some goods and services that are genuinely scarce for a host of different reasons, and most of those could be mitigated with appropriate use of advanced automated technology – but there is no “profit” in that, and thus no economic incentive to do it, and a great deal of economic incentive to prevent it happening.