Environment Variables: On Surplus, Scarcity, Fear & Greed

By Mark Sigal
August 18, 2009 | Comments: 1


I am a big believer that markets gravitate between FEAR and GREED, and that industries are driven by core assumptions about the SCARCITY or SURPLUS of enabling resources.

Think about the stock market in terms of the former (it's heavily outlook driven), and the evolution of computing, as afforded by the latter (i.e., the commoditization of processing, storage and bandwidth).

With that in mind, here's a riddle for you:

If you were to ruminate on what type of economy you thrive best in, and the type of company/industry that you gravitate towards, where would it fit on the following 2 * 2 matrix:

On the X axis, you have MARKET UPTAKE DRIVERS; namely, whether customer-buying decisions are driven by Greed (the belief that tomorrow will be better than today) or Fear (the belief that rainy days are ahead);

On the Y axis, you have RESOURCE AVAILABILITY ASSUMPTIONS; namely, whether the industry's success is predicated on resource Scarcity or resource Surplus (commoditization).

Based on the resulting four quadrants (i.e., Scarcity/Fear; Scarcity/Greed; Surplus/Fear; Surplus/Greed), I have plugged in one example type of company/industry for each quadrant.

Given the above, what type of economy do you thrive best in, and what other examples come to mind for each quadrant? Similarly, what types of products or services can you imagine as the offspring of each of these quadrants?

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