Human wants exceed the means to satisfy these wants. (wants > means)
- Who gets these resources?
- What is produced?
- How will they be produced (are we going to use labor and capital, these both have properties of scarcity)?
- When will things be produced?
- What is forgone when we decide what to produce?
- Auction: This stands loosely for a market process
- Gift: goes to those among us that are favored for whatever subjective reason
- Government fiat: The government enforces contract, transfer, political allocation.
- Violence: I simply take what I want.
- One theory of the origin of law was to preserve property rights without resorting to violence.
Note: these seem ranked, but economic theory does not give insight into subjective evaluation.