WANTS NEEDS & DESIRES –
A distinction may be made between wants, needs and desires. To the extent that they all indicate a state of absence of satisfaction, they are synonymous but they are a shade different from each other.
All three indicate scarcity, but desire is more psychological & related to a specific thing a person may want eg cloth, but may desire a particular variety of it may want a cold-drink but may desire a particular variety of it eg an individual may want a soft drink but may desire a particular variety of it like an orange or a coke.
Needs of an individual, on the other hand, are externally determined and based on social standards eg. technical training for workers, blood transfusion to an ailing patient a library in a locality are instances of needs based on expert opinions or social standards.
Wants on the other hand, are highly subjective and more in the nature of physiological requirements.
Wants: – “An experience of lack of satisfaction which leads to action designed to gain that satisfaction.”
Wants arise out of -
a) Instincts: – Food clothing & shelter are basic wants similar to all animals.
b) Habit – If a particular want is regularly satisfied a person becomes used to it and it grows into a habit which creates wants eg tea alcohol etc.
c) Level of development a community has attained – an advanced civilisation brings about diversification and variety in wants. Wants are satisfied through latest techniques and most sophisticated types of goods eg food and clothing habits, modes of transport etc.
d) Wants are influenced by social surroundings and customs. We live in an organised society and therefore have some contemporary social obligation and conventions to fulful eg. in selection of food, clothing, accommodation, entertainment etc
e) Wants arise from economic position
f) Through advertising and propaganda. Our wants are powerfully influenced and shaped by the producers of goods through advertisement and other techniques of sales promotion.
eg. we must have certain thing for breakfast, use a certain pen etc.
Characteristics of wants.
1) Wants are unlimited
Human wants are many/multiple and ever increasing because
When one want is satisfied another want takes its place. Thus there is a never ending sequence of wants ranging from necessaries to comforts and luxuries.
Wants also increase due to increase in population, development of civilisation and economic progress, and some wants are recurring and have to be satisfied again and again.
This results in multiplicity of wants making them unlimited.
2) Any particular wants is satiable but in general they are insatiable
Although an individual has many wants, all cannot be satisfied at the same time due to scarcity of resources. However a particular want for a particular good can be fully satisfied at a point of time.
3) Wants are recurring
Although a particular want can be fully satisfied at a point of time, it reappears after a period of time ie many wants are recurring. This applies to most of our routine expenditures eg food.
4) Wants are gradable
Wants are unlimited and all cannot be satisfied at the same time due to scarcity of resources. However all wants are not of equal importance or urgent. Some wants are more important than other wants. Therefore wants are graded and satisfied on the bases of their importance. The most important wants are satisfied first followed by the less important wants. The arrangement of wants in the descending order of priority is known as the “scale of preference”.
5) Wants are complementary
Very seldom does one commodity by itself satisfy a want. Wants are satisfied with more than one commodity ie a want for a particular good creates a want for a number of other goods. Therefore they are complementary in nature. Eg A want for writing creates wants for paper, ink pen etc a pen alone is not enough. Car and petrol are demanded together. Many such wants complement each other.
6) Wants are competitive
One commodity competes with another for our choice. Man has many wants and they can be satisfied with many commodities. Since income is limited man cannot buy all goods and therefore has to choose between them. When he selects one commodity to satisfy his want he rejects the other. The final choice depends on price and money at our disposable. Eg In order to travel one has to choose between railways, roadways or waterways. If one is thirsty the choice may be between tea, cold drink, water etc.
7) Wants are alternative
It is usually possible to satisfy a given want through the use of alternative goods or substitutes. A commodity can satisfy more than one want. eg A pair of shoes may be made out of leather, PVC, cloth etc.
Therefore a want for leather shoes is alternative to a want for PVC or cloth shoes etc
The alternative wants competitive with another to be selected therefore they are competitive.
8) Differ with time place and person.
Different people want different things at different places at different times and the same person wants different things at different places at different times.
9) Wants are different in different civilisation
In a primitive society wants were simple & few. With development of civilisation, economic growth, development and progress wants became complex and go on increasing.
10) Wants are influenced by advertisement and salesmanship.
Our wants are powerfully influenced and shaped by the producers of goods through advertisement and other techniques of sales promotion.
Advertisements are used not only to create wants in favour of the advertised brand of product but also arouse in the customer an awareness for a new product..
eg we must have certain thing like cereals for breakfast, use a certain pen for social status like moblanc etc
Similarly preferences for particular goods might be changed in favour of other goods by means of salesmanship.
11) Present wants are more important than future wants
Present/current wants are certain, stable and are felt with more intensity and urgency than future wants.
Future wants are uncertain, unstable unpredictable and are felt with less intensity and urgency than present wants.
We are therefore more concerned with the satisfaction of present wants rather than be worried about future wants. Therefore we tend to underestimate future wants and therefore present wants become more important.
12) Wants are created by habits and influenced by customs and traditions.
If a particular want is regularly satisfied a person becomes used to it and it grows into a habit which creates wants like daily tea, coffee, liquor, cigarettes etc.
Wants are a result of customs and traditions eg wants like flowers during religious ceremonies etc
13) Wants are interdependent
eg demonstration effect, lower income group imitate the higher income group people and higher income group in developing countries imitate consumption of the developed countries.
CLASSIFICATION OF WANTS –
Human wants foe different goods can be classified on the basis of urgency, satisfaction received or availability of substitutes into necessaries, comforts and luxuries.
They are also known as primary wants They are satisfied first. Necessaries are goods without which survival would be impossible or intolerable. They are essential for survival eg food, clothing and shelter essential for survival. Satisfaction received from consumption of necessaries is greater than the money paid for them. Lower income groups spend a large percentage of their income on basic requirements.
Necessaries are further classified into
i) Necessaries of life
Necessaries of life are essential for survival eg food, clothing and shelter essential for survival.
ii) Necessaries of efficiency
Necessaries of efficiency comprise of those goods which increase the productivity of human beings eg tools for a carpenter, a desk and table lamp for a student, etc.
iii) Necessaries of convention
Necessaries of convention include goods which are indispensible for an individual or family because of the pressure of social convention eg.
They are also known as secondary wants. They are satisfied after satisfaction of primary wants Comforts make life a pleasure and an enjoyable experience eg domestic appliances. Satisfaction received from consumption of necessaries is greater than the money paid for them. Middle income groups spend a large percentage of their income on comforts.
They are also known as extravagant or superficial wants. They are satisfied after satisfaction of primary and secondary wants They are not essential for survival. One can lead a perfectly healthy life without consumption of luxuries. Usually they are very expensive and affect the prestige and social position enjoyed by a person, eg jewellery, precious metals and precious stones etc. Satisfaction received from consumption of necessaries is less than the money paid for them. High income groups spend a large percentage of their income on comforts
A closer look at the above classification reveals that the urgency of demand for necessaries is the highest while it is the lowest for luxuries.
Further classification of human wants on the basis of satisfaction received, into necessaries, comforts and luxuries is not rigid. It is relative. It differs from person to person on the basis of the use of the commodity. The same commodity may fall in any one of the three categories as it depends on who the consumer is. For eg a car for a doctor is a basic requirement, for a housewife a comfort and a luxury for a student.