What Are Needs and Wants?


Needs are the requirements for human health and life. They include food, water, and shelter. If they are not met, unhealthful conditions can develop, and illness and death may ensue. Wants are goods or services that a person wants, but that they do not need for survival. In some cases, they can be a substitute for needs.

Needs can be objective, social, or personal. Some examples of needs are food, clothing, water, shelter, and medical care. Others are based on culture. The need for shelter is a psychological need. For instance, in an urban context, people may have different need for safe, warm, and clean surroundings than they do for security.

Some people think that needs and wants are interchangeable. They often use the terms in this way. However, needs are more specific than wants. It is important to distinguish between the two. You can do this by asking yourself whether you can survive without your desire for something. Ultimately, you must be able to make a rational decision about what your needs are.

While need and want are not always easily defined, they can be distinguished on the basis of their importance. A basic concept of economics is the distinction between want and need. When the need for a certain product or service is backed by purchasing power, it becomes a demand. On the other hand, if an individual’s needs are not backed by purchasing power, they are not a demand.

Many psychologists have developed models of the needs of humans. These include Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which range from basic physiological to higher order needs. Though the hierarchy is generally well-accepted, its operationalization has been problematic. Most researchers agree that it must be modified in light of specific contexts.

Needs are often used in philosophy, psychology, and economics. Needs are a psychological characteristic of an organism that arouses it to action. Thus, they give a purpose to a person’s behavior. Various forms of need are modal, transitive, intransitive, and auxiliary. Depending on the context, need can behave as a main verb or a auxiliary verb.

Needs are a very important feature of life. They are necessary to sustain a stable and healthy life. People have survived days without food. Wants are desirable and are something that can improve the quality of a person’s life. Unmet wants can lead to a variety of illnesses. Therefore, it is very important to identify your needs and prioritize them first.

Some psychological theories about need and wants are incompatible with other cultures. One example is Doyal/Gough Theory, which emphasizes the importance of individual costs. Another theory, referred to as capability theory, is a less formal approach that is based on the ideas of Amartya Sen. Unlike Doyal/Gough Theory, the capability approach emphasizes the importance of internal assets for individuals.

Needs and wants are both common substrates for economics, philosophy, and politics. However, the academic study of need and want has fallen out of favor in recent decades.