It is very difficult to define human wants within few words. All of us want to live. For this reason, we need food, clothing and shelter.
Human desire for better and ever better living, the desire for change, increasing knowledge, human progress etc. have led to emergence and growth of more and newer wants.
Thus wants have been increasing because of the addition of more and more wants as also because of rise in population and new inventions and discoveries. Therefore, human wants are ‘ever growing and never ending’.
Human wants have grown for two basic reasons:
(i) Desire for better living due to introduction of new things;
(ii) Rise in population growth.
These are two main factors responsible for the growth of human wants.
Characteristics of Human Wants:
There are several characteristics of human wants.
These are listed below:
(i) Wants are repeated:
Several human wants occur again and again during the same day. We want food during breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. However, we want medicine at the time we feel sick. Therefore, some of our wants are reoccurred many times during a day, while some human wants only repeated after a long time. In some cases, human wants are only occasional.
(ii) Wants may differ with age:
Human wants are changing according to the age. A child wants toys, whereas an adult wants a motorbike. A student wants to go to school. A grown-up wants a job and a secured life.
(iii) Wants may differ with gender:
Wants of a boy and a girl are different. A girl wants to dance, whereas a boy wants to play. A gentleman wants shirts, pants, ties etc. However, a lady wants sarees and salwar suits. Thus, both men and women want different goods according to their needs.
(iv) Wants may differ with preferences:
Human wants are also changing according to tastes and preferences A twin sisters may wants different types of foods and dresses. Some persons want spicy foods while some others want very simple non-spicy foods. Wants may also change according to the habits of the people.
(v) Wants may differ with climate:
A same person wants woolen clothes during winter, cotton clothes in summer and raincoats at the time of rainy season. People from mountain or hilly areas want room-heater, but plain- land people demand for AC machine.
(vi) Wants may differ with culture:
A Bengali wants rice and fish, a Punjabi wants roti and dal, a Tamil wants iddli and dosa etc. in their food. An European wants ‘coat, pant & tie’, whereas an Indian wants ‘kurta and pajama’. Thus, human wants are varying with culture.
(vii) Wants may differ with health:
A healthy person wants sufficient good food. However, a sick or ill person wants proper medicines.
(vii) Wants Are Unlimited:
Crisis is the mother of civilization. With the passage of time, human wants are increasing. We may satisfy some of our wants for time being, but they may also reoccur. Moreover, there are so many wants which will never be satisfied during our lifetime.
Classification of Wants:
Wants can be classified in following ways:
(i) Economic and Non-Economic Wants:
The wants which cannot be satisfied by such goods and services that can be bought are known as economic wants. For example, want for food, want for book, want for dress etc. To satisfy these wants, a consumer has to spend money.
The wants which cannot be satisfied by making monetary payment for them, are known as non- economic want. We want love and affection of our parents, relatives, neighbours etc. We want stable government. We also wants international peace and amity. We want universal brotherhood.
(ii) Individual Wants and Collective Wants:
Personal or individual wants refer to those wants which are only demanded by a single person or an individual. For example, Sachin wants a cricket bat, Baichug Bhutia wants a football, Leander Paes wants tennis-racket etc. These are the personal wants. ‘On the other hand’ all the things are wanted by us collectively. For example, good government, roads, hospitals, schools etc. are collective wants or social wants. Again, we all want India’s win either in a football match or in a cricket match.
(iii) Necessity, Comfort and Luxury:
Human wants are varying in nature. Want for food, clothing, shelter are the basic necessities of human beings. We want books, pens, pencils, medicines, fuel and cooking gas etc. Ail these are basic necessities of human life.
On several occasions, we want to make our life comfortable. We want washing machine, AC- machine, pressure cooker, mixer, geyser, motor cycle, mobile phone etc. for our little comfort. These wants are classified as comforts.
There are other wants which are meant for pleasure. Wants for Plasma-TV, AC-car, well furnished house, computers to play games, travel by air etc. All these wants are called luxuries. However, what are considered as comforts today may become necessities in near future.