: The author's point is that there will always
be scarcity - that human's will always have the capacity to want more
That said, I'm certain Sowell would agree that the system can be optimized to reduce the impact of innate scarcity through better distribution, incentives and policies - as that's the main point of the book :).
But he'd also
argue (as would I) that it requires both "productive efforts" and "responsibility in spending" on an individual level. Clearly, a widespread cultural issue within this country is an unwillingness to spend within our means, or to invest into the future: this is the foundation of the housing bubble (at the micro level), as well as the debt ceiling (at the macro level).