Unmasking the Myth of Scarcity

By Stephanie Jackman for REAP Business Association

Money is a lot like water. For some folks it rushes through their life like a raging river. Money comes through my life like a little trickle. But I want to pass it on in a way that does the most good for the most folks. I see that as my right and my responsibility. It’s also my joy.

These words – spoken by Gertrude in a church basement in Harlem in 1978, recounted by Lynne Twist in her book The Soul of Money – summarize the book’s theme: Money transmits our intentions. We can use it to create the world of our dreams, or we can use it to perpetuate the status quo.

The status quo is based on a mindset of scarcity. A mindset that creates an underlying fear that we, and the people we care about, won’t have enough. The prevalent belief that there isn’t enough to go around, that someone will always be left out, drives a culture of accumulation. A belief that more is better creates a race with no end.

The infinite race for more continues because of a third belief: “That’s just the way it is.” We assume the world is hopelessly unfair. We resign ourselves to scarcity. We worry first about getting what is ours. More than ours, in fact, to avoid being left out.

There is something freeing about the way Twist identifies then debunks the myth of scarcity. She not only gives us a choice to accept or reject the status quo, she offers a new and surprisingly simple alternative: There are sufficient resources for everyone on the planet to lead a healthy, productive, meaningful life.

The challenge is not scarcity of resources, but allocation. Twist’s solution is for all of us in the Western money culture to let go of trying to get more of what we don’t need so that we can free up our energy to make a difference with what we have. When we make a difference with what we have, it expands.

The Soul of Money started a conversation in my life that has sharpened my purpose and fortified my resolve. It was the inspiration for REAP and this magazine. It’s moved me to create a legacy of sufficiency. It’s spurred me to dwell less on what’s wrong with the world and more on the power I have to make it better.


  1. Pick up a copy of The Soul of Money. Learn more about the myth of scarcity and the principle of sufficiency. Challenge yourself to think differently about your relationship with money. Only then can you change how money affects your life.
  2. Spread the word. Pass the book on to someone who you think will benefit from its message. Or share Lynne’s URL, soulofmoney.org, with others.
  3. Visit reapcalgary.com for similar articles. Or to tell us what you think about this article by posting comments on our blog.

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