Monday, March 24, 2008

Resource: Kimzey Lecture

IS THERE ENOUGH? The Law of Scarcity vs The Law of Consecration Bruce W. Kimzey

1997 David O. McKay Lecture at BYU Hawaii

Hat tip to GMA for alerting me to this lecture. I don't have any proof, but I suspect that the quality of this lecture may be linked to the fact that Dr. Kimzey was born in Wyoming. On a more serious note, this is one of my all-time favorite readings.

Some excerpts:

"While there is no scriptural guidance to dictate the level at which wants become nonessential, it would seem safe to argue that many, if not most, American LDS church members have reached that level. In place of the desire for more and better material goods and services, a desire for sharing and strengthening others must be substituted. After generations of scarcity indoctrination and the lifestyle it creates, even the most active members may have difficulty reducing their desires for more goods."

"Is there enough? Under modern economic principles there is enough to create growth in rich nations and some growth in poor ones, but the gap between rich and poor will grow over time. Is the best economic system one that creates inequalities in the name of efficiency, and creates output without regard for conservation of resources? Or is there an alternative system which can create both efficiency and equity, where there are no rich and no poor, where cooperation can replace competition, and where workers and owners share the rewards of production?

The law of consecration is actually the only way to ever solve completely the problem of scarcity. A market economy is an efficient way to allocate scarce resources and to produce goods that maximize current satisfaction, but by definition markets cannot solve the problem created by unlimited wants and limited resources. No level of efficiency and economic growth will ever eliminate scarcity, or create equality between rich nations and poor."

Please read the entire lecture. It is excellent.


Mike said...

It is a very interesting lecture. I admit though that I only had time for now to read about half of it and then skim the rest. Thanks for linking to it. It related to 3questions I have been thinking about lately:

#1: Can we have a free market and still create a Zion society? Do we do this through individual charity or government programs. It seems Kimzey's view is that we can't have both a free market and a Zion society.

#2: How much does the Lord ask me to give? How do I justify having so much luxury when there are starving and sick children. Are we who have relative luxury living in sin?

#3: Who is my neighbor?. Patriotism is normally seen as a positive thing, and in many ways I think it is. Still, recently I've begun to wonder why I should support policies that benefit those living in the United States at the expense of those living elsewhere. Aren't we all God's children?

I'm afraid Kimzey's lecture just gives me more questions than answers, but it is interesting anyway.

Latter-Day Sustainablist said...


Thanks for your questions and the links to your posts. I have the same questions and no answers. These seem to be an areas of "let them govern themselves" and "anxiously engaged in a good cause."

Crystal said...

I am impressed I am never disappointed when I come and read all the research you have done or linked to. Though it sometimes makes my head hurt with all this thinking :)
My one thought of the day. How many of us(me included)want to change and understand the concept but like their wants and desires a little too much to really change?

Mellifera said...

So the other day, I was thinking and realized that even though everybody uses "free market" and "capitalism" interchangeably, they're complete opposites if carried to their logical conclusions. Ie in America we have lots of capitalism, but really not that much free market. (At least in agriculture/food industry, which is what I'm most familiar with.)

I swear I'll explain someday.... it's not the kind of thing one ought to get into while at work... :)

Latter-Day Sustainablist said...


Thanks for your nice comment. I also struggle to actually change. Little by little, I guess.

Stephen said...

Great Post...I have saved the article are will read it all later. I really like the little bit that I did read and think it is spot on.