A recycled economy?

It doesn't keep me awake at night, but I'm still pondering what seems to be a big issue: buying used and recycling/repurposing things only "works" (i.e. is only dramatically cost-saving) because so few people do it and society is so wasteful.

That is, if everyone shopped for X used on Craigslist, the cost of X would go up because of high demand and limited supply.

As it is, you can buy X cheap because most people are buying Y at retail instead and are just trying to get rid of X to make room.

With me so far?

Thing is... This is great for those of us who shop used... but by definition you can't build a society on these principles because they break once everyone starts doing them. Kant wouldn't approve.

Personally, I can leave that as "Oh, well; too bad for the others!" I suppose... but something doesn't seem "right" about the situation.

Are there any economic models or theories that address this?


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