Scarcity is the most fundamental economic problem that societies face. In a world of unlimited wants and scarce resources, all individuals and societies are forced to choose among competing alternatives. Fortunately, technological advances have made our lives better by reducing the opportunity cost of some of these choices. Consider the time-saving inventions of the microwave oven, the automobile, the washing machine, etc. Will technology ever completely eliminate scarcity? For instance, the popular science fiction TV series Star Trek had a machine called a "replicator" that essentially produced things (such as food and clothing) out of thin air. Does this mean that Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock never have to face the tough choices imposed on us 21st century humans?