Economics is the study of scarcity.
Recently I watched a TV show about the Lear jet. The Lear jet is a small, elegant, aircraft. It has a reputation for being beautifully built, almost hand-made, in a world of mass production. I love that these things exist, and that the Lear company continues to thrive, innovate, and create these beautiful planes.
At the end of the segment the commentator stated (paraphrased) “in these times of economic hardship, the Lear company is thriving”.
Lear jets, for the most part, are bought by wealthy individuals, or by private companies, who also pay for pilots and crew to fly them around the place. The cost is approximately 14 million dollars.
Clearly neither these individuals, nor the executives of the companies are experiencing economic hardship. But the poverty rate in the U.S. where the company lives and does most of its business is rising rapidly. Many people lost their homes and livelihoods during the so-called Global Financial Crisis, and will never recover.
Some people consider not owning a Lear jet to be economic hardship. Others, as in Sao Paulo, Brazil pay 25% of their daily income on public transport fares.
Houston, we have a problem.