It is not so much palm reading any longer but the understanding of scars.
To be free from a scarcity trap, it is not enough to have more resources than desires on average. It is as important to have enough slack for handling the big shocks that may come one’s way at any moment.
But if a government really wanted to crack down on illicit goods and services, it would go after the people who demand them. If, for instance, men convicted of hiring a prostitute were sentenced to castration, the market would contract in a hurry.
Mastery arrives through deliberate practice. Deliberate practice has three key components: setting specific goals; obtaining immediate feedback; and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.
The economic approach isn’t meant to describe the world as any one of us might want it to be, or fear that it is, or pray that it becomes—but rather to explain what it actually is. Most of us want to fix or change the world in some fashion. But to change the world, you first have to understand it.
People respond to incentives, although not necessarily in ways that are predictable or manifest. Therefore, one of the most powerful laws in the universe is the law of unintended consequences.
Researchers have likened willpower to a muscle, which fatigues with use. By this account, a persistent need to resist temptation would deplete it, making it all the more difficult to escape the scarcity trap.
Escaping the scarcity trap does not merely require an occasional act of vigilance. It requires constant, everlasting vigilance; almost all temptations must be resisted almost all the time.