Hmm.. the guy who I heard it from was Russian and he was saying it was a Russian saying... but I did a quick search and it seems many prominent names used it and it is indeed attributed to a couple people but nobody know who the original author is...
The expression "shortage of sand in Sahara" has been around for many decades and people use it to explain any unjustifiable shortage and it came into being to criticise the communist system.
Miltons Friedman version in the 80's: If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.
I found this article:
Other people who used it: William F. Buckley Jr, French Sage, Alfred E. Kahn.
The earliest instance of the vivid phrase “shortage of sand in the Sahara” located byQIwas printed in 1951 in “Labour” magazine which was issued by the Trades Union Congress in London. A group of workers from Birmingham visited Sweden and were hosted by the Gothenburg Trades Council. The visitors commented on a shortage of timber; however, the overall context did not disparage government:
The visitors were not surprised to find a housing shortage in Sweden; they knew before they went that the problem was world-wide. What they were surprised to find was a shortage of timber. “It sounds like a shortage of sand in the Sahara,” they commented. Then it was explained that the Swedish home market was going short to enable the country to export much of its valuable timber.
In 1971 the conservative magazine editor and commentator William F. Buckley Jr. published “Cruising Speed: A Documentary” which recorded in diary form the incidents and events in Buckley’s life during one week in November 1970. Buckley relayed a joke castigating communism:2
Curiously, the failures of Communism are more often treated as a joke than as a tragedy. (As in the current jollity: What would happen if the Communists occupied the Sahara? Answer: Nothing—for 50 years. Then there would be a shortage of sand.)
This was the earliest strongly matching instance of the quip found byQI. The target was not the U.S. government, but an archetypal communist government. The creator of the joke was anonymous, and the duration of the delay was 50 years instead of five.
Meth Wyde, well things just weren't invented yet... so maybe that's not a shortage but thing you could do and buy were very limited when you go back a 100 years ago... life was simple and hard. And I think some people were better off back then. But the wheels turned and now we have these absurd cultures. People became little demi gods and all these anal retentive demeanor... I don't know, I guess I just miss the 80's...
But go ahead explain, what do you mean, are you saying we didn't have a shortage or that life didn't rock?
SlimFootJesus, life was ended prematurely for millions under communism. The communists either directly murdered them or starved them to death. Yeah, life certainly rocked for those millions. Just as it’s rocking now for plenty of people in Venezuela.
Life definitely did not rock. Not when you had to queue for hours in order to be able to buy the most basic of everyday items. Not when a cold, stinking of diesel fumes bus rolled into the bud stop and you had to seriously push and shove among all the unwashed, smelly adults in order to get on and to school as a primary school kid. Not when hot water was available only during certain hours. Etc, etc.
Viqueen, yeah I know, I wasn't talking about Russia or communism... I read that phrase "good old times" and that was part of a sarcasm there in that statement but I was simultaneously watching something about the 80's and my mind slipped... so my bad, I agree...
Yeah as Jeff says that is not applicable here... but it is a refreshing way of looking at scarcity nevertheless.
I look at the market and the only shortage I see is the shortage of human ingenuity and creativity.