By: Harrison Chiu
The positive connotation of abundance is misleading. It implies that more is better; a common, sustained misconception today. Out of the words that mean a large quantity of, it is remarkably hard to find one with a negative connotation. Excessive, with the negative connotation of oversupply fits better. The value of something inversely relates to the relative abundance; in other words, less means more.
This relationship is easiest to observe in economic situations. The diamond industry prospers because of the false, lowered supply. The value of money decreases due to inflation. Water costs more during a drought, and oil during crises in the Middle East. Precious gems are only more precious than similarly sparkling glass due to their rarity. When there is a smaller supply (than demand), prices of goods and services tend to increase. (Although one must include demand to correlate this with economics, value typically diminishes as quantity increases, regardless of demand as all goods or services have some starting value.)
However, one can even begin to extend this to relationships. A best friend is especially valued because he/she is the one and only “best” out of your friends. The phrase loses all meaning when every friend you have on Facebook is your “best friend.” Similarly, dating and marriage only have meaning due to the loyalty to one partner. The bond between two people is special because it is only between husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend.
Even beyond relationships and economics, humans judge value in terms of relative availability. Without limits on quantity, or scarcity to help us, nothing would be of value.