In day to day language desire and want mean the same thing. But in economics, they have different meanings. Wants are the basis for human behaviour to buy and consume goods. All the desires and aspirations and motives of humans are known as human wants in economics.
Characteristics of Human Wants
Wants are unlimited
Human wants are countless in number and various in kinds. When one want is satisfied another want crops up. Human wants, multiply with the growth of civilization and development.
Wants become habits
Wants become habits; for example, when a man starts reading a newspaper in the morning, it becomes a habit. The same is the case with drinking tea or chewing pans.
Wants are Satiable
Though we cannot satisfy all our wants, at the same time we can satisfy particular wants at a given time. When one feels hungry, he takes food and that want is satisfied.
Wants are Alternative
There are alternative ways to satisfy a particular want eg. Idly, dosa or chappati.
Wants are Competitive
All our wants are not equally important. So, there is competition among wants. Hence, we have to choose more urgent wants than less urgent wants.
Wants are Complementary
Sometimes, the satisfaction of a particular want requires the use of more than one commodity. Example: Car and Petrol, Ink and Pen.
Wants are Recurring
Some wants occur again and again. For example, if we feel hungry, we take food and satisfy our want. But after some time, we again feel hungry and want food.