A high stakes barter exchange takes place in my apartment every morning. My cat, Zart, has determined that the fair market value of one (1) hour of additional sleep in the morning is equivalent to ¼ cup of dry food. Most recently, he has stipulated that ½ can of wet food can be exchanged for two (2) hours of additional sleep. If neither of these goods appear in his bowl at 6AM, I will not receive any additional sleep.
My measuring stick for rising inflation is the cost of an iced oat milk vanilla matcha latte. It used to be $5, then $6, now a harrowing $7. Every time I reach the checkout screen, a familiar, condescending voice comes blaring through my head:
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Resource scarcity leads us to borrow, and that pushes us deeper into scarcity. Why? Because when we have scarce resources we tunnel (i.e., we focus on the here and now, the fires, what needs to get done right now). Tunneling leads us to neglect. Tunneling today creates more tunneling tomorrow, and leads us to borrow — in a borrowing from Petra to pay Paula and eventually needing to pay back Petra with significant interest scenario — so that we’re using the same physical resources less effectively, placing us one step behind.