Overproduction, simply put, is supply in excess of demand. It is the production of more goods and services than those in the market would like to purchase. Overproduction, in a well functioning market economy, should be temporary. In a dynamic market driven by entrepreneurs, resources become allocated towards their most highly valued uses. If some clever entrepreneur makes a million shoes, but only sells two pairs, he will be unlikely to overproduce in the future. This is good, because the overproduction signals to the entrepreneur that there are better ways to use the limited resources that he has.
Multiply this process over an entire economy, and one can see the temporary nature of overproduction, and its undesirability given scarce resources.
Stewardship, according to Kent Wilson, is “the faithful and efficient management of property or resources belonging to another in order to achieve the owner’s objectives.”
In this context, human beings are the stewards of Earth’s resources, which ultimately belong to God. Using resources wisely, in a way that contributes to human flourishing, is a key concept of Christian stewardship. Overproduction, then, is not “faithful and efficient” management, as it allocates scarce resources to less highly valued ends. (more…)