(Self-Funding) Scarcity is Perceived; Wealth Abounds

Kent Dahlgren
7 min readJun 23, 2020

This morning featured a discussion of community advocates, at times jockeying to ensure their voices were heard.

This is rhetorically tantamount to elbowing to the front of the line, at the expense of others.

The meeting’s attendees were respectful, and each reiterated that we should be thinking of seeking solutions that include others, and are not exclusive.


The most assertive voices were politely making it clear that they are in a fight for the lives of their respective community, and not without justification/

The implicit assumption is: “nothing personal, sister, but I got to do mine.”

This came to the detriment of those who are not inclined toward internal conflict.

Ah, the dialect of contrived scarcity, where we are conditioned to believe that resources are limited.

But they aren’t.

We are not obligated to adopt the limited framework of our masters as we design our future. Resources are actually plentiful, and all we need to do is change our lens to perceive wealth differently.

Let me see if I can invite you to borrow my filter — which is my lens upon the world.

I’m a small, incredibly unpopular kid that grew up in a little logging town; I can’t fight and win by following the same rules as others.

I need to re-write the rules in order to win; it’s kind of a Kobayashi Maru thing, if you’re a Star Trek nerd. The story is this: James Tiberius Kirk wins the game by stepping outside the constraints of a game designed in the first place to be unwinnable.

This filter enables me to see the world through a different lens, and fam? The world is not what it seems.

We are surrounded by wealth. We are swimming in it. We need not grovel for a single thing, and we can do it legally.

We just need to be more savvy about the system than those who have become conditioned to believe they can always fight and win by playing by the rules they wrote.

Consider this:

The value of a product (or service) is typically a reflection of its scarcity, either real, perceived, or contrived.

Just pay attention to advertising and you’ll see what I mean; there’s forever this emphasis upon exclusive, limited-edition products. And you know those products aren’t limited edition at all. It’s all a lie.

The psychology of scarcity works; people fall over themselves to acquire products or services at a premium.

Forget videos of people fighting during Black Fridays; how many people pay $50k for a new SUV they must know is worth a fraction of that five minutes after it’s been driven off the lot?

Additionally, our mainstream economy is “extractive,” meaning: they are designed to pull resources from a target market.

Extractive industries are effective mechanisms for supporting the needs of a centralized organization, and they maximize their profits by leveraging the perceived scarcity described previously.

In other words, people are manipulated (through the use of psychology, eg: “marketing”) into contributing more than usual into an extractive economic model that’s designed to bankrupt the target market.

Those who are more easily or more readily able to contribute more than their fair share are considered the “good customers.”

And yet the resources these “good and loyal customers” accumulate are greedily added to the portfolio of a centralized, extractive economic entity (eg: a bank, for instance), just as soon as they drive themselves into insolvency.

Top to bottom, we are conditioned to believe we must either grovel for approval or climb upon the heads of others.

Ergo; “homelessness is a choice,” claims ardent, sincere Christians who are six missed mortgage payments and a single health emergency from themselves being dumped on the streets.

When you swipe your Visa card at the register, about 3% of that transaction leaves your town, and doesn’t really return.

Banks function in the same way; they exist to extract a profit, eg: they suck more value from the community than they ultimately deliver.

Visa doesn’t care about you. Your bank doesn’t care about you.

This contributes to a scarcity mindset that pits us against one another as we fight for resources.

And why? Why do we do it? Why are we fighting?

You know the story of Jesus taking his whip to the temple, and beating the vendors until they left?

I’d have to believe Jesus would be doing a whole lotta whipping in the year of our lord, 2020, because look at what we’ve become.

We fight for resources we are conditioned to believe are only available from the same entities that are ironically positioned to extract resources from us in an inequitable manner, like obedient slaves.

We kiss up to the bank, corporations, and the government, and we fight among ourselves for the scraps.

See the irony of this?

Let’s switch it up a bit, and talk a bit about regenerative wealth.

I tell my kids to think about what happens when you add more logs to a camp fire; it creates more fire, not less.

I share a room with my three daughters. Frequently they climb in bed with me just to give me a hug. Yesterday I walked hand in hand with my ten year old, talking about what it’s like to become an adult.

I had both sets of grandparents in my life until I was an adult.

I talk or text with my adult sons on the regular; they are frequently sending me memes or songs, or taking to be about their anxieties.

I live with my best friend, Trudy, and my other best friend Beth just moved here from Indy. The other week we sat up to our chins in one of Austin’s lovely creeks.

Ruth has quickly become one of my very best besties, and we walk frequently, comparing the experiences of our respective days as we brainstorm how to help people grow their own community wealth, from the inside out.

About every couple of weeks I get to visit Sowers Farm. We visit the pigs, we swim with the ducks, we chase the chickens, we cuddle the rabbits, and we snack on brisket as we watch the sun dip beneath the western horizon.

I could literally go on for hours about the many high quality people I have in my life, and I’ve only lived here for just over a year. Geez, just now I received a lovely “how do you do?” from my friend Mackenzie, whom I consider to be a dear and lovely soul.

These are examples of wealth, and this model extends quickly to other areas of our lives.

This simple framing frees up a lot of creative resources as we position ourselves to consider how to grow this wealth in a manner that begins to include the lives of others.

Recall my example of a potluck: the quality of the meal is a reflection of the love invested in each dish, by each contributor.

This touches on the second aspect of reframing the problem in a beneficial way: we can define and maintain hyper-local economies that are designed to magnify the wealth, so to speak.

And, by emphasizing regenerative contributions to the “pot luck,” this begins to resemble an inferno, so to speak.

We are not consumers.

I mean, we can choose to remain consumers within an extractive economy if we are so inclined. This is all opt-in.

But some may choose to instead to invest in the ability to produce, and this can change the quality of the local economy a ton.

If the local economy is designed just-so, it becomes constantly regenerative, because it’s designed to encourage and support the community’s productive capacity.

This is sort of like figuring out how to create the most awesome short list of people who are consistently able to bring the most amazing dishes to your potluck.

This is all possible, and a growing number of people are doing just this in the wake of opportunity created by COVID-19.

I own a software company, and am frequently asked why technology is needed to do any of *this.*

Technically, technology isn’t really necessary; people can certainly figure out how to do these kinds of things in the same analog manner they have for millennia.

(Because that’s true, actually; humans have structured their affairs locally for thousands of years, using language as their baseline technology).

We’ve designed our system in such a way that eases the way your community quantifies its aggregate wealth.

Why does that matter?

Once we quantify the value of each community, in terms of wealth and it ability to achieve a sustained, regenerative practice that benefits even its most vulnerable….

…then we can compare the hyper-local approach to the existing model, which is extractive and designed in such a way that does not bring much benefit to the local community

It will be obvious that the existing economy is massively inefficient.

Threatened with existential crisis, the existing system will claim that the numbers are fudged, or they were made up.

But by using technology they already accept as state of the art, we’ll be able to demonstrate that their claims are false.

Modern, decentralized technology facilitates all that existing systems work to avoid:

  • transparency
  • accountability
  • governance that’s easy to audit

And THAT’s when the inferno begins in earnest.

The market will diversify into a rich, entrenched manner that is no longer disproportionately centralized, to the detriment of the least of our brethren, so to speak.



Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”