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Human Wants| Their characteristics - A study of Needs, Comforts and Luxuries
Significance of Human Wants
Human wants do play the most significant role in our economy and thereby control all the actions and relationships between people and their results keep impacting our society and the whole world or planet.
The more we indulge in satisfying our wants, the more we utilize the natural resources and may find ourselves drying up all the resources leaving nothing for our future generations to come.
So, it becomes dire necessity to control our wants by identifying and understanding what are our needs, comforts and luxuries and earmarking the reasonable levels of satisfying them.
Distinguish Wants from Desires
None of us are without any desires. Even, I would rather say, we always experience numerous desires emerging within us every moment. They are mostly like dreams that you want to achieve in real life. Even a beggar or a pavement dweller desires as many things as a rich billionaire does. So, desires are not bothered about your position and status.
But when some of those desires get the backup of some money and your purchasing capacity to accomplish them, they become to be referred to as wants. Wants always need to have some monetary or other sources of support to accomplish them and also the willingness to purchase them. So money power added with some willingness to spend on them transform your desires into wants.
One should be able to realize this fact and earmark his wants that need to be satisfied out of those innumerable desires. So, let us study here the characteristics and classification of human wants for being able to manage our wants perfectly.
Wants are at times awful necessities
Major differences between Wants and Desires
Desires are mostly instincts and lack reasonability. But wants develop from desires in a reasonable manner according to earning capacity and living conditions.
Desires are not backed by purchasing power. But wants are based on purchasing power of the individual, either immediate or future capacities.
Moreover, wants need your willingness to purchase besides the backup of purchasing power.
All desires do not get satisfied, whereas, most of the wants get satisfied during one's lifetime.
Characteristics of Human Wants
Wants are not static. They keep on increasing and changing according to many factors.
- Wants are unlimited in number and more emergent wants have an edge over others.
- Wants are satiable (get satisfied) by consumption.
- Some wants are recurring in nature like eating food daily.
- Some wants are free in nature like water, air, etc. until they become commercialised. They are known as non-economic wants.
- Wants vary according to culture, civilization, and the environment.
- Wants get changing or improving along with advancement in economy and technology.
One great Economist- Karl Marx
Types of human wants
Human wants are classified into necessities, comforts, and luxuries based on the urgency of their satisfaction.
Some of the factors deciding urgency vary according to the time, place, culture and development of the society where you live.
But, you should determine your own emergencies and try to avoid more superfluous wants for the overall benefits of society.
What are your basic needs or Necessities?
The most basic requirements needed for sustaining your life are known as 'Necessities'. They are the dire necessities without which you can not live. You need food, shelter and clothing basically. Some examples include a plate of meals, water to drink, air to breathe, either any of one room or two room house or some kind of shelter to protect self from heat and cold, some pairs of clothes etc. So, anything that provides you with dire necessities of life is the most prominent need that you should want to accomplish in priority before all other wants.
Why Comforts are considered important also?
Comforts are those goods and services that provide you with some relief in living your life. They make things easy for you. For example, a bicycle or bike for travel, a fan or cooler for air, furniture & bed for rest, mixie and other tools for the kitchen, a visit to hair-saloon or to a movie, etc., these are some of the comforts we enjoy. They may not be necessities as you can live without them. But, they are regarded as important wants because they keep both our body and mind comfortable by freeing from tensions.
What are luxuries enjoyed by people? A want is classified as a luxury when it is a very costly and superfluous item. They are considered as more than enough for anybody's life. Even it is a sheer wastage of money and resources. A dinner in a 5-star hotel, a luxurious car, a superfluous bungalow, a lavish party, clothes costing thousands of dollars and costly jewellery all these are examples of how people spend luxuriously while most people are even unable to meet their dire necessities of life.
Charles Fourier, great Economist (Utopian Economics)
Table illustrating bifurcation of Wants
Good, tasty food
Lavish, expensive dishes
Enough, but normal clothes
Good looking and extra sets
Extremely glamorous dresses
Any shelter or home
Good, ample furniture
Lavish costly furniture
Newspaper, Radio, TV
Normal Haircut, shave
Costly Beauty Parlour
What do you Think
Is it proper to indulge in satisfying your most comfortable and luxurious wants?
One influential Economist- Alfred Marshall
Excessive satisfaction of Wants leads to draining up of Resources
- Wants are ever growing. As you satisfy one, the other one emerges. It is an endless process.
- So, they keep on creating demand for more and more goods and services.
- The ever increasing demand results in increased production.
- Production is made through consumption of resources.
- But available resources are always less than the demand for production.
- Eventually, increased production will lead to drained up resources.
- One day, you will be facing a situation where there will be no more resources to carry on the production.
- Hence, it is necessary to keep our wants within some limits, allowing only more reasonable ones to be satisfied and others discarded.
Problem of Scarcity & Choice
How to Control Wants and what to Do?
It may be very difficult to control wants. It requires much determination and willpower along with a feeling of concern for the good of society.
Try to employ some reasoning power while satisfying the wants as to the worthiness of those wants demanding satisfaction. Can't you avoid some of those and thereby save some resources for your unprivileged people or for your coming generations?
Because, whenever you demand more goods, there is more probability for the prices to increase besides draining of the resources. Price increase means, that poorer sections do not have access to those goods. So, indirectly, you are depriving them of their needs.
The more you indulge in satisfying wants, the more you will suffer as you have to acquire more wealth by doing more labour. Having lesser wants will give you more satisfaction and result in happiness.
Look at other people in your society and outside of your society. See how they are living and what wants they are satisfying. Study and learn about resources available and rate of consumption within a period. Estimate the results if this trend continues for long.
Even if you can see at your own monthly budget and/ or your country's annual budgets, you will come to know the actual position.
Look at the poor and needy people and why they are unable to meet even their necessities. Who are at fault for these circumstances?
Your government is helpless because of the activities of some of the core sections of society who overlook the bare realities and produce goods and services only for the affordable classes or who indulge in unnecessary lavish spendings not caring for the common good.
If we really want to care and feel concerned, then only can we save something for our future generations or for providing services to these poorer classes of society!
So, let us try to limit the satisfaction of our wants and do some good to the needy people and save our Mother Earth from being drenched out of the resources.