Human Wants: Meaning, Satisfaction and Characteristics of Wants (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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  • In our daily life we see that different people are engaged in different types of activities. For example, some people are engaged in farming, some work in offices, some are selling vegetables, some are having different types of shops, some are running factories etc. These people are engaged in different types of activities to earn income. They have to earn income because they have to satisfy so many wants.
  • To earn income people, use resources man made or natural. Wants are unlimited but the resources are limited.

Meaning of Wants

It is human nature to have many goods in life. There would be an endless list of such wishes. Let us call these wishes as ‘desires’ . One may desire a good house, a car, a computer, good food, decent clothes and so on. How can one get all of these? One may have these things if he/she has money. our desires are to be fulfilled depends upon our capacity to pay or purchasing power. That is why not all desires can be met as we need money to satisfy them. The desires which are backed by money and willingness to purchase may be called wants.

Meaning of Wants

How Do Wants Arise and Grow

  • Wants are a part of our living. They arise with the birth of man. Man, in ancient times was satisfied while living in forests, drinking water from the streams, plucking fruits from trees or eating animal fest to satisfy hunger. He had limited wants which were related to food, Sheller and clothing. Over a period of time, these wants to have grown.
  • With the discovery of fire man started cooking food. This led to the discovery of new food items. Man՚s taste grew and expanded. A large variety of food stuffs came into existence.
  • As regards clothing, man has moved from unstitched animal skins and tree leaves to a variety of clothes. to live better, man discovered and invented new items of clothing.
  • In a similar fashion, need for housing has also undergone a tremendous change. Man has moved from caves to huts made of straw and pucca houses made of bricks. Now a days, houses made of wood, pucca houses, bungalows and palaces with fancy doors, windows and all sorts of decorative paints and fixtures are in use.

However, some wants may be necessary for the existence of life.

Examples: food, clothing and shelter

There are some other wants which make our life easy and comfortable.

Examples: Car, Bus, Coolers, Scooter etc.

Some goods give us pleasure, but they are very costly.

Examples: luxurious cars, diamond Jewellery etc.

Satisfaction of Wants

  • Satisfaction is fulfilment of one՚s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure.
  • Do all our wants get satisfied? No As soon as one want is satisfied another takes its place; our wants increase because we desire to live a better and comfortable life. Wants are unlimited but the resources to satisfy them are scarce. As soon as one want is satisfied, another takes its place. Some of these wants can be satisfied by man with his limited income while for others he may not be able to do so. It is, therefore, not possible to fulfil all our wants though a single want is satiable.

Characteristics of Wants

The following are the most important characteristics of wants:

  • Wants are unlimited: Famous economist Marshall has rightly said that human wants are countless in number and are varied in kind As soon as one want is satisfied another want takes its place. This endless circle of wants continues throughout life. Example: a person who has never used a fan would wish to have a fan. When this want is satisfied, he would wish to get an air cooler and a scooter
  • A single want is satiable: Each want taken separately can be satisfied. It has rightly been said that there is a limit to each particular want. Example -: if a man is thirsty, he can satisfy his thirst by taking one, two or three glasses of water and after that he does not want water at that point of time.
  • Some wants to arise again and again: Most wants recur. If they are satisfied once, they arise again after a certain period. Example: We eat food and hunger is satisfied but after a few hours, we again feel hungry.
  • Varying nature of wants: Wants to vary with time, place and person. They are also influenced by many factors like income, customs, fashion, advertisement etc. Example: we want medicines only when we are sick. Ice is needed in summer season only.
  • Present wants are more important than future wants: Present wants are more important. A person uses most of his limited resources for the satisfaction of present wants. He does not worry much about his future wants because future is uncertain and less urgent. Example: providing for the education of children in the present is more important than providing for old age security in future
  • Wants change and expand with development: Over a period of time the human development is going on. human is also changing their wants. A simple example to show how wants are changing is the telephone. Earlier, in the rural areas there were not many telephones, but today telephone has become a necessity for everybody for keeping in touch with their near and dear ones.

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