Characteristics Of Human Wants
Man has Several wants. He has to work and produce goods and services to satisfy his wants. In fact no single person is free from wants. Wants are the starting point of all economic activities. Individuals can’t live and lead happy life when their wants are not satisfied. All persons do not have the same wants. Wants differ from individual to individual. They multiply with civilization. But there are certain characteristics of human wants in economics. They are endless and ever growing in nature. That is why economists like Lionel Robbins described Economics as the subject dealing with the affairs of wants, efforts and satisfaction of individuals.
Characteristics Of Human Wants In Economics :
The following are the main characteristics of human wants in economics
1. Wants are unlimited : Human wants are unlimited. There is no end to human wants. The satisfaction of one want leads to the origin of another want. Wants arise throughout the life of a man.
2. A particular want can be satiable : This is a peculiar characteristics of human wants. Man cannot satisfy all his wants. But it is possible to satisfy a particular want. There is a limit to any particular want. It can be satisfied for the time being. For example a man is hungry. He eats food and his want is satisfied. He cannot take food immediately. It means that he can satisfy any particular want completely at a particular time on a particular day. But at the same time he can’t satisfy all his wants.
3. Wants are competitive : Our wants are unlimited. But the means which satisfy our wants are limited. It is very difficult to satisfy all our wants with limited income and time. Hence we make a choice among these wants.
We choose such wants which have to be satisfied immediately and postponed less urgent wants. For example student tries to purchase a book instead of going to a cinema because book is more urgent than cinema to him. In this way different wants compete compete with one another.
4. Wants are substitutive: A particular want can be satisfied by various goods. Suppose an individual is hungry. He can satisfy his want either by taking bread, rice, meat or fruits. Similarly an individual’s thrust can be satisfied either by drinking soda water or a cool drink or lime water etc. These goods are known as substitutes. Hence human wants are substitutive to one another.
5. Wants are complementary : Another important characteristics of human wants in economics is every want is complementary. The satisfaction 0f most of our want require several goods. In other words we require several goods U satisfy our. wants. For example if we want to write a letter, we need a pen, ink, and paper. We require iron and steel, wood, sand, cement, bricks, glass etc, to construct a houses. All these g00ds have joint demand. Any single good cannot satisfy our wants completely. Hence wants are complementary in nature.
6. Wants recur: Most of our wants recur or arise again and again. A particular want arises several times in a day, week or year. We have to satisfy again and again. For example our want for food recurs several times in a day. It recur as long as we live.
7. Wants differ in their intensity: All wants do not possess the same intensity. Some wants are more urgent while other wants can be postponed for some time. Certain wants such as food, clothing, shelter etc can’t be postponed. They must be satisfied immediately. As against this certain wants like cool drinks, fruits, cinema etc. can be postponed for sometime.
8. Wants differ from individual, place and time : Wants differ from individual to individual, place to place and time to time. For example some individuals prefer Boost while others may take Horlicks. Want also differ From place to place. People living in western countries like England require woolen clothes. But people in India wear cotton clothes. Again wants also differ accordingly to time For example in summer season people like to have cool drinks and in winter season they want hot drinks.
9. Wants are influenced by customs and traditions : Wants are influenced by custom and traditions. Almost all people follow some customs or conventions. They have to spend considerable amount of money on social functions. As customs and tradition differ from country to country, wants also differ from country to country.
10. Wants are influenced by civilization: Human wants increases with civilization. People in urban areas have more wants than the people in rural areas. Their wants increase with the development of civilization. That is why people living in rich countries have more wants than people living in poor countries.
11. Wants are affected by Publicity and Advertisement: Human wants are also influenced by the publicity and advertisement. Publicity and advertisement influence the consumption behavior of individuals. Businessmen adopt these methods for attracting and influencing the minds of the individuals.
12. Wants are influenced by salesmanship : Salesmanship also influences human wants. This characteristics of human wants in economics says that salesmen attract new customers through their smart appearance and nice conversation. They create confidence among the consumers regarding the quality of the goods which they sell.