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InFocus - Scarcity: Poverty & Inequality


What is Scarcity? Why Scarcity?

The focal point of investigation for 2019-2020 InFocus is Scarcity: Poverty and Inequality. To expand the scope of this area of study and to make it accessible to all disciplines, methodologies, and artistic fields of expression we have added a concept: scarcity. Why scarcity? The synonyms to scarcity are quite negative: “crunch, dearth, deficiency, deficit, drought, failure, famine, inadequacy, inadequateness, insufficiency, lack, lacuna, paucity, pinch, poverty, scantiness, scarceness, shortage, undersupply, want” (Webster online). But can scarcity also be something positive? Doesn’t minimalistic music play with scarcity? Doesn’t the Japanese poetry of haiku rest on the scarcity of words? Can scarcity also mean “simple” as in simple lifestyle? Poverty and inequality emerging from socially and economically defined solutions to scarcity. But scarcity is more than poverty and inequality. It can be the critique of scarcity; it can be the beauty of scarcity. We are interested in interdisciplinary aspects of scarcity through the lenses of the art, music, mathematics, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This academic year we invite you to explore how scarcity is embedded in our world, life, and current scholarly and artistic work.

As we embark on In Focus this year, our plan is to broadly focus on research and its applications with respect to the challenges of Poverty, Inequality, and Scarcity, both at home and abroad. We jumpstart the year with the first-year seminar faculty and students studying the book “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty” and bookend it with the In Focus conference and Town Hall in the spring, which highlights these and other focused studies on scarcity, poverty, and inequality.

In so doing we synthesize, integrate and subsequently leverage faculty member’s expertise; and use this opportunity to call attention to both the type of work that incoming students can expect to be a part of at Moravian College, and the type of work that epitomizes In Focus.

Dry, cracked land and silent water pump