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Characteristics of wants

  • Wants are unlimited: Human wants are unlimited. They are never completely satisfied. When one want is satisfied, another want will crop up to take its place and thus, the cycle of wants is never ending.
  • Every want is satiable: Wants, in general, are unlimited. But a single or a particular want is satiable. We can completely satisfy a single want. If a man is hungry and he requires food, by spending some money on food, he can get food and satisfy his hunger.
  • Wants are competitive: Some wants compete with another. We all have a limited amount of money at our disposal. Therefore, we must choose some things and reject the others.
Example: Mr. A has ₹ 100. With this amount, he has to choose between going to a movie, buying a book and having food. Of course, a consumer will choose the more urgent wants and distribute his income on several goods in such a manner so as to get maximum satisfaction.
  • Wants are complementary: It is a common experience that we want things in groups. A single article out of a group cannot satisfy human wants by itself. It needs other things to complete its use.
Example: A motor-car needs petrol and oil to start working. Thus, the relationship between motor-car and petrol is complementary.
  • Wants are alternative: There are several ways of satisfying a particular want. If we feel thirsty, we drink water or lassi in summer and coffee or tea in winter. The final choice depends upon the availability of money and the relative prices. These alternative goods or methods are called ‘substitutes’.
  • Wants vary with time, place and person: Wants are not always the same. They vary from one individual to another. People want different things at different times and in different places. We require hot drinks in winter and cool drinks in summer. People of England require warm woollen suits and rain coats. People of India require more of cotton cloths. The wants of a villager are different from that of a businessman living in metropolitan city. So, wants vary with generation, culture, society, geographical location and the extent of economic development.
  • Some wants recurring: Some wants are recurring in nature.
Example: We require food again and again.
  • Wants become habits and customs: If a particular want is regularly satisfied, a person becomes used to it and it grows into a habit.
Example: Smoking of cigarette and use of drugs

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