What are the Characteristics of Human Wants?

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The main characteristics of human wants are as follows:

1. Wants are unlimited:

Human wants are unlimited in number and there is no end to them. When one want is satisfied then another arises. Wants go on multiplying. They are never com­pletely satisfied.

2. Wants vary in nature:

Wants may vary with time, place and person. Different persons may want different things. Even the same person may want different things at different times and at different places.

3. Wants differ in intensity:

All wants are not equally urgent and intense. Some wants are more urgent and important than others. More urgent wants must be satisfied earlier while other wants can be postponed.

4. Wants are repetitive:

Many human wants are recurring in nature. For example, the need for food is felt after every few hours. Even the wants for durable goods like furniture and car, etc., keep on recurring after some period.

5. Wants are progressive:

Human wants go on increasing with improvement in the income, education and status of a person and with the progress of civilisation.

6. Wants are competitive:

A person has several wants at the same time. But the means to satisfy them are limited. Therefore, he has to choose between several wants and arrange them in order of priority. He satisfies urgent wants and postpones many others to be satisfied in future.

7. Wants are also complementary:

Several wants must be satisfied together in a group. One want gives rise to another want. For example, if a person wants to write a letter he will require paper, pen and ink. Similarly, a person who buys a car requires petrol to run it.

8. Wants are satiable:

An individual want can be completely satisfied at a particular point of time. For instance, when a hungry person takes food, his want is satisfied. But the same want will arise again. Some wants may never be satisfied e.g., miser's greed for wealth, politician's lust for power, etc.

9. Wants are subjective:

Human wants cannot be measured in absolute terms. They are subjective and relative. They vary from person to person, place to place and time to time. Wants are influenced by advertisements, publicity, etc.

10. Wants change into habits:

When a particular want is satisfied continuously, a person may get used to it and it may grow into a habit. For example regular drinking of tea, coffee, alcohol, etc. becomes a habit for many people.

11. Wants arise from multiple sources:

Some wants such as food, water, clothing, etc. arise due to natural instincts. Everybody needs them. But other wants arise from economic and social status, social obligation, etc.

For example, a person may have to eat, dress and live like others in the society. Similarly, the same want may be satisfied its several ways depending on the relative prices and money available with a person.

12. Wants create economic activity:

Human wants give rise to economic activities. Unlim­ited and ever increasing human wants accelerate the pace of industry, commerce and trade.

13. Wants are alternative:

There are alternative ways of satisfying a particular want. For example, a person who wants to travel from one place to another may hire an auto-riksha or a taxi or may board a bus or train. The final choice depends upon their relative prices, the money available and the time available.

14. Wants depend on several factors:

Several factors determine the wants of a person. Nature of the person, his education and income, social customs, economic development of the country, advertisements and publicity are some of the main factors which influence human wants.


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