The notion of scarcity serves at the same time as the most important explanation and justification of property rights arrangements. Scarcity is explicitly the rationale for modern “law and economics,” and it is implicit in several older works of other legal philosophers and theorists. It is argued that scarcity will involve a dimension beyond mere allocation when two or more persons consider one good as a means for the satisfaction of their wants and when the use they intend to make of it is incompatible. One cannot reduce this distributive scarcity to mere allocative scarcity because this would require the possibility of weighing utilities by a super-individual authority. Because distributive scarcity is unavoidable, only three outcomes are possible: (1) permanent conflict–the assignments of scarce means are the result of the use of violence, ruse, and tactical games; (2) resignation–a resource becomes the object of competition, both parties withdraw, and such withdrawal means isolation and a massive drop in world population; (3) rules–assignments of power over scarce resources to individuals, groups, families, the government, and so forth. Not only is it difficult to imagine how one might provide reasonable arguments for the two first solutions, but these solutions also would imply tremendous costs to the working of society. As a consequence, distributive scarcity can be considered a probable explanation and a compelling justification for some arrangements of property rights in society.