The term refers to the lack of basic resources for life, such as food, water and electricity, as well as shelter and clothing. However, the scarcity is not simply of basic and necessary resources, it also includes second need products, for example “shortage of electronic equipment”.

It can appear at any time, caused by different reasons, a waste of the products or their low production. Import and export emerged as a solution to avoid the lack of products, since a nation is not, for the most part, capable of satisfying the entire population that inhabits it.

Scarcity is classified into 4 sections, according to its origin: scarcity due to inequality or accumulation, that is, one part of the suffering population has an abundance of what causes the other to not be able to acquire the products that are scarce; promotion of scarcity by the economic power, where the public power makes products inaccessible, and creates unemployment to reduce wage costs; shortage by demand and supply, in this two factors are observed, the increase in the demand for products by another institution and the impoverishment of the resources of the producing entity; artificial scarcity, created from the reduction of production of certain products.

However, this type of problem can not only occur in the economy, but also in biology, due to the few specimens that may exist of a certain rare species, although they are mostly protected by national or international laws, or the scarcity subjective, which describes a situation where the products are not few, but do not cover the needs of the entire needy population.