The Lord Jesus enacted the true nature of the world for us when He fed the 5,000 and the 4,000. In both cases, He refuted the central tenet of unbelief, which is that resources are scarce, and that God must be a skinflint. Zero-sum thinking is the idea that more for one person means less for somebody else.
Doug Wilson, Bread and Wine Multiply
Let me begin with a definition of zero-sum thinking with regard to wealth, which I have referred to in this space a number of times. Zero-sum thinking assumes (in unbelief) that the amount of available blessings is necessarily fixed, and that it therefore follows that if one man gets a larger piece of the pie, others have to get a smaller piece. A wonderfully succinct summary of this mentality is found on the bumpersticker “Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live.” Anyone who agrees with that bumpersticker, or is in sympathy with it, is in the grip of zero-sum thinking.
Doug Wilson, Sell the Car, Champ
This idea comes from Herbert Schlossberg, I think.
I agree with this in principle. But the world is in important ways finite, and there are finite systems within the world. I think we could qualify the 'zero-sum thinking' concept in certain ways, specifically by invoking God's blessing.
Malthusianism is retarded, but take the example of having children - is it possible to have so many children that it strains the resources of the small system that is your family? Yes, although some could not acknowledge this. Is it possible to overtax the land? Yes, and observing as much is not falling prey to zero-sum thinking.
Finite and Infinite Games might be helpful in distinguishing between small systems which may be 'zero-sum' in certain respects, and systems that are infinite.