Scarcity and Wealth Magic

Scarcity One of the problems I have with most approaches to wealth magic is that such approaches aren't really designed to help a person manufacture wealth, so much as help a person manage a crisis or shock of scarcity that has come up in their life for whatever reason. It's a reactive approach and unfortunately its not always an effective approach. The root of the issue is that in such cases what we're dealing with isn't really wealth magic so much as its a response to scarcity. So let's consider for a moment what scarcity and how it affects us:

Scarcity is not merely the gap between resources and desires on average...To be free from a scarcity trap, it is not enough to have more resources than desires on average. It is important enough to have enough slack (or some other mechanism) for handling the big shocks that may come one's way at any moment...periods of scarcity can elicit behaviors that end up pulling us from into a scarcity trap. And with scarcity traps, what would otherwise be periods of abundance punctuated by moments of scarcity can quickly become perpetual scarcity. This, incidentally, does not mean that the only way to avoid scarcity traps is to have wealth large enough to weather all shocks...this discussion highlights the need for instruments for buffering against shocks. From Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.

Scarcity is partially derived from a person's identity and relationship with money and other sources of wealth, but it is also significantly derived from the environment a person is in and how that environment is set up. The environmental variables a person deals with play a significant role in the experience of scarcity or wealth. I would argue that the more reactive a person is to his/her environment, the more likely that person is dealing with scarcity traps. Scarcity encourages reactions, because when a person is dealing with scarcity, what they are typically dealing with is how to survive the current situation they are dealing with, as opposed to planning for the future. Consequently a person dealing with scarcity of some type is in a place of reaction, and unlikely to find their way out of such reaction, because the solutions generated are primarily short term solutions. Not surprisingly the majority of so-called wealth magic is really a reactive approach to handling problems, and so it would be more apt to label it scarcity magic. It's magic done for the purpose of dealing with a crisis, as opposed to magic being done as a form of proactive planning for the future.

Scarcity isn't just limited to money. Scarcity can also be applied to time, or space, or other environmental aspects that are important to a person, but I do think if you find scarcity in one area of a person's life, you'll probably find it in other areas as well. The reason for that is because scarcity is a domino affect. When you experience scarcity, you cognitively end up tunneling, or hyper focusing if you will, on the actual problem that's causing the scarcity. While that tunneling can be somewhat useful for solving the problem, it causes a person to ignore other possibilities and environmental variables that while not tied to the issue at hand, nonetheless affect the person. This then sets the person for further experiences of scarcity, for further shocks if you will that deepen the experience of scarcity.

Now you might be tempted to believe that if a person just learned the right skills, scarcity wouldn't be an issue, but scarcity isn't simply a result of skill deficiency. While the skills a person has can help that person navigate scarcity, the environmental variables the person is dealing with are not always something that can be handled by skill alone. The truth is we aren't always in control of the environment we are in, and even when do have control of the environment, it's typically a limited form of control. If the wrong situation occurs at the wrong time (for the person, then despite all the skills the person has s/he can still be dealing with scarcity.

But what then of magic? Isn't magic supposed to provide us some means of control over the environment around us? Yes and no. Magic can provide a way to navigate and work with the environment, but even with magic (or science or anything else) you won't control everything around you. And that lack of control is where scarcity seems to show up. So how then can a person manage scarcity, with magic or anything else?

True wealth magic is proactive magic. It's magic which is formulated as a design, a plan, if you will to help you manage scarcity and accept that while you don't have complete control of your environment what you do have control over is how you respond to situations. The best response to any situation are designed responses that anticipate situations as best as possible, and if nothing else give you the breathing room to make a situation that isn't informed by the need for an immediate solution. Wealth magic alone isn't enough, but wealth magic encourages the active development of a plan. The wealth magic practitioner also recognizes the need to actively study different forms of wealth management and integrate that management into their lifestyle, as well as magical practice. Ideally the wealth magic practitioner is learning about topics which can include magic, but should also include education on finances, relationships, business (especially if you own one) and other related topics.

Wealth management is the effective management of your resources for three purposes. The first purpose is the cultivation of the lifestyle you want to live. The second purpose is to maintain that lifestyle should you choose to retire. The final purpose is to be able to handle moments of scarcity, without letting those moments become longer than they need to be. Management of wealth isn't just money, but is also your time, relationships and various other resources that contribute to you living the life you wish to live. It's also proactive management of scarcity. Proactive wealth magic is utilized in tandem with the skills a person learns from other disciplines, in order to design one's life and anticipate as best as possible environmental aspects that could affect the plan. By taking such an approach, scarcity can be managed and planned for. You won't escape the experience of scarcity, but you will be able to limit it and how it effects your life. And you'll also have steps in place to get you back on track to living your life the way you want to.

Magical Experiments podcast: Interview with Stephanie Conolly about Demonolatry.