Difference Between a Want and a Need
When it comes to owning or acquiring certain things, people would often use the terms ‘want’ and ‘need’ interchangeably. In many cases, the manner in which people would use these two terms can lead one to perceive that these two have similar meanings, if not mean absolutely just the same thing. But actually, these two economic terminologies are very different from each other.
A need is generally referred to, in economics, as something that is extremely necessary for a person to survive. If a need is not met, it would lead to the onset of disease, the inability to function effectively and efficiently in society, and even death. Needs are categorized into two groups. There are the objective or physical needs, and the subjective needs. Objective needs are those that are met through tangible things, or things that could be measured. Examples of these include food, water, shelter and even air. On the other hand, subjective needs are those that are often seen to ensure our mental health. Examples of these are self-esteem, a sense of security and approval. A political professor, named Ian Gough, enumerated eleven distinct needs that must be met by each and every human being in order to function well in society, and to survive. The inability of meeting these needs can lead to a person suffering from illness (either physically or mentally), or even death.
On the other hand, a want is something that a person desires, either immediately or in the future. Unlike needs, wants are those that differ from one person to another. For example, one person may want to own a car, while another may want to travel to an exotic country. Each person has his or her own list of wants, each with a varying level of importance. Furthermore, wants can change over a period of time. This is in contrast to needs, which remain constant throughout the lifetime of the person.
The grey area between these two, is when the desire to obtain a particular thing is so extremely great, that a person may misinterpret a want, and see it more as a need. In order to know whether what you desire for is a want or a need, is to basically ask one fundamental question: “Have you been able to survive without this?” If your answer is ‘yes’, then what you desire for is a want, no matter how much you crave for it right now.
1. Wants and needs are economic terminologies.
2. A need is something that is necessary for a person to survive. On the other hand, a want refers to something that a person desires, either right now or in the future.
3. Wants are desires that are optional, meaning that you will still be able to go on living, even if the want is not met. On the other hand, if a particular need is not met, it could lead to a person suffering from illness, or even death.
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