Nature and Classification of Human Wants

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Consider the situation, where we tell you to live in the same room throughout your life. However, we provide you with ample food, clothing, and all your demands. Will you be able to live your life that way? No, you won’t. You would want to get out and move around. That is the endless nature of human wants. We, humans, use many commodities in our daily life. However, while purchasing anything, have you ever wondered whether you want it or is it a desire. Right from the time of civilization, human beings have been relying upon several sources and elements. 

The survival of humans involves several wants, the most important being food, shelter, clothing, etc. With innovation and technology, the wants are ever-increasing. All of these are directly related to the economy. This helps in understanding the demand and supply of commodities.

Classification of Human Wants in Economics

 The classification of human wants varies on several bases and these are as follows.

  • Economic and Non-Economic Wants: Economic wants are related to commodities and can be satisfied using money. While non-economic wants are something which money and goods cannot suffice, like peace, affection, etc.

  • Individual and Collective Wants: Individual wants are those which are required by one specific person. For example, you want a school bag, you want to eat chocolates, and such other wants. On the other hand, collective wants are those which are required by a community as a whole. For example,  a school, hospital, etc., are collective wants. Again, if you want your country to win the match, it is collective rather than individual want.

  • Necessities, Comforts, and Luxuries: Necessities are those commodities that are essential for human survival. These are the most important wants, including clothes, food, shelter, etc. Among the necessities are the wants which help in increasing efficiency. These include diet foods, a better home, etc. These are a result of the habits and customs of humans.

    Comforts are those commodities that help in making life more satisfactory. These are neither necessarily required and nor are urgent wants. One can also live without comforts. Some of these items include ACs, purchasing clothes for some special occasions, etc.

    Luxuries are goods and commodities that provide humans with a sense of entitlement. They allow humans to hold a prestigious position. They are expensive stuff and need not essentially be a part of our living. Some of them include cars, jewelry, and other commodities.

Characteristics of Human Wants

The nature of human wants varies depending on several parameters. These further describe the characteristics of human wants. Some of the characteristics are as follows.

  • Iterative Wants: Some commodities are required on a daily basis. These include food, water, and others. These fall under iterative wants. However, these vary from person to person. Example: Some need to take medicines on a regular basis, others don’t. 

  • Variation of Wants with Age: Adults have completely different wants from that of kids. While a 25-year old wants a stable job and life, a 2-year old is satisfied and happy with toys. 

  • Gender Wants: Depending on their needs, likes, and dislikes, gender plays an essential role along with age. Example: Often girls would want fancy clothing, and boys will want to ride a bike. 

  • Geographic Variation Wants: For those living in northern parts, they would have a good room heater while for those living in desert lands would want an AC. Geography plays an important role in what people want and why.

  • Wants vary with Health: Those who are fit, do not require any medicines, but for the unfit ones, hospitals and good nutrition are a want.

  • Endless Human Wants: Wants are ever-increasing at par with innovation and technology. Humans never get satisfied. The more you provide, the more they will consume and want. 

At the end of it all, the economy is completely related and revolves around human wants. It helps the government in understanding the demand-supply and chain. 

Are you wondering what are the prime reasons for the skyrocketing human wants? This is usually because of the following reasons.

  • Expectation and need for a better living. 

  • Increase in population with each passing day. 

These factors highly contribute to the ever-rising human wants. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is the Classification of Human Wants a Rigid Concept?

Answer: No, the classification of human wants is based on several parameters. A thing that is a  want for some can be a luxury for others. It completely varies from person to person. It also highly varies according to human satisfaction and adaptability. The more contended a person is, the lesser wants they will be inclined towards. It is no harm to have wants, but it is essential to consider the nature and economy before fulfilling the demands. 

2. What is the Importance of Human Wants?

Answer: Some of the reasons which make the human wants important are as follows.

  • For all economic efforts to take place, human wants are the starting point. They are the root of the economic activities to get started. Had there been no wants, there would have been no business or activities.

  • Economic activities are completely related to the satisfaction of human wants. Its main objective is to meet the standards of living. The higher the wants, the higher will be the living standard.

  • Enhancement in industrialization: To meet the demands, the industries will have to progress and expand accordingly.

3. How do We Classify Human Wants?

Answer: The classification of human wants is as follows.

  • Necessities

  • Comforts

  • Luxuries

The necessities are further classified into:

  • Necessities for existence

  • Necessities for efficiency

  • Conventional necessities

The luxuries are further classified into:

  • Harmless luxuries

  • Harmful luxuries