Saturday, 11 April 2015

Characteristics of Human Wants

As discussed earlier, human wants are those desires which are backed by some purchasing power of man. Now, these human wants have many characteristics of their own and different levels of satisfaction capacities. Let us look at some of these characteristics of human wants.

Wants are Unlimited in Number
Just like desires, wants are also unlimited. If you satisfy one want, another want arises and it is an endless process. But your resources are limited and so, you can not satisfy all your wants. Ultimately you will satisfy some wants of most urgency and postpone the others for a later period.

Some wants are Recurring in Nature
Many wants need to be satisfied again and again at certain intervals. For example hunger needs to be satisfied again and again for 3 or 4 times in a day. Maintaining a good look of your face and head require periodical hair-cutting, shaving, applying lotions, creams and face powders, etc. All these are examples of recurring wants.

Wants are Satiable
We find that we are able to satisfy all our wants that we try to satisfy at any point of time. At any given point, we satisfy each single want to its full extent. We are able to satisfy hunger, for example, by consuming a plate of meals or two or utmost by three plates, say. Like wise, we satisfy thirst by drinking one glass or two or three glasses of water for that particular occasion. So, wants get satisfied to their full extent at any given point.

Wants are sometimes free wants (Economic and Non-economic Wants)
Some of the wants get satisfied without having to pay anything in return. For example, air, water, sunlight, nature's beauty all these are free wants. We need not pay anything to satisfy these wants. But, with time, they may become non-free items: we pay for bottled water, oxygen cylinder and the like. But, basically, some of these wants are free and known as non-economic wants; while other paid wants are classified as economic wants.

Present Wants have an edge over Future Wants
Most of us give more weight at satisfying our more recent and present wants and postpone the future wants due to the reason of limited resources available with us in satisfying our wants. So we give more importance to our present wants and satisfy them first.

Wants change according to place and time and person to person
Wants depend upon your place, tastes and likings and on time also. Different people have different wants in different environments. They depend upon culture, civilisation and time and age.

Wants change with Economic and Technological development
Advancement in economy and technology affects the wants greatly. Previously, we used to want for a Radio or a Telephone set. But now most of us, if not all of us, want to possess a TV set or mobile phone as our basic requirement. This is due to progress in economy and technology.

Thus, we are able to see that Wants are capable of different characteristics and have variant satisfying levels according to circumstances and environmental factors.

Human Wants, How they differ from Desires and their Satisfaction

Here, I am giving some basic knowledge and facts about desires and wants and their satisfaction. To know about Human Wants in Economics and their characteristics, we should first know about the difference between wants and desires and be able to distinguish the wants from desires.

What is Desire
All human beings have Desires. They are just like some natural instincts or longings. We desire to be rich, to be healthy, to be happy and reach to a high status and position in society. We like to live in posh bungalow, own a car, dine in 5 star hotels, wear stylish apparels, own huge bank balance, travel in air, so on; it is an endless list.These are all desires and can be had by any person. Desires and dreams are fantastic things. They can be had at any of the oddest occasions also because they need no price to be paid for having them.

Human Wants
Now, coming to wants. Human Wants in Economics are desires that are supposed to be backed by purchasing capacity. You can not fulfil all of your desires at any case. You should have money or some purchasing power to get your desires accomplished. So, a desire becomes a want when you think of achieving it and try to satisfy the desire with your purchasing capacity. You will try to earn some income or possess wealth in order to satisfy them.

Difference between wants and desires
  • Desires are natural instincts which start even from birth. Wants are developed from these natural desires, while man grows on along with his earning capacity and purchasing power.
  • Desires do not require purchasing power for their existence. But wants require to be backed by some purchasing power.
  • Desires are infinite in number. They keep on growing always. Wants are also innumerable, but they often develop with your growing capacity and environmental conditions.
  • Most of the Desires are left unsatisfied. But, in case of Wants, most of them get satisfied during your lifetime. 

How do Wants get satisfied?
Wants are satisfied by way of acquiring and strengthening your purchasing power. You earn income and accumulate purchasing power to satisfy all your wants.

  • Wants get satisfied in two different ways. They are satisfied through consumption of goods or utilising the services of different service providers.
  • Purchasing a house, car, clothes, food, etc., are examples of some wants satisfied with goods. 
  • But these goods alone can not satisfy your wants. You will further require the services of a doctor, a hair cutter, a washer-man, a housemaid and many other professional men for satisfying some of your wants.
  • Again,wants are satisfied with the backup of resources. So, you can satisfy wants as long as the resources are there, not after that.
  • Some wants get satisfied with a single consumption whereas many other wants need recurring and regular consumption, like eating food, wearing clothes, shaving, hair-cutting and others.