A condition where there is less of something available than at least some people would like to have if they could have them at no cost to themselves. Note that this technical economic definition of “scarcity” differs greatly from the notion of scarcity as “unusual rarity” that predominates in most ordinary language. (For example, automobiles are not currently “scarce” in Los Angeles in the sense of being rare or unusual to see, but they are definitely “scarce” in the economic sense because many Angelenos would certainly take more of them if they were being given away for free.) Because the total quantity of goods and services that people would like to have always far exceeds the amount which available economic resources are capable of producing in all known human societies, people as individuals and/or as members of larger social units must constantly be making choices about which desires to satisfy first and which to leave less than fully satisfied for the time being. That is, they must constantly decide how best to allocate (apportion or distribute) the scarce resources available to them among the various alternative uses to which they can be put. Thus scarcity is the fundamental condition that gives rise to the patterns of choosing behavior whose study constitutes the main focus of the academic discipline of economics.