Modern economics tells us that human wants are unlimited. The desire for more can never be satisfied and thus competition and scarcity is inevitable.
But is this really the case?
In my previous blog post, I talked about our requirements and we were able to differentiate our requirements into two types:
The concept of unlimited wants has to be understood in this reference. Let’s look at it in detail. When we are talking about unlimited wants, we are essentially saying that we get happy by satisfying our wants and because we want unlimited happiness, our wants are also unlimited.
Now when looking into the wants, we realise that these two types of wants are characteristically different. The physical wants are the ones we need to maintain the body. These can be broadly categorised into 6 categories:
All our physical needs can be summed up in the above 6 categories. Whether it’s fruits, vegetables, house, office space, clothes, or anything else. Try finding an exception and put it in the comment section below.
And these wants by default are limited in nature. We can only have so much food or travel so much in our lifetime. All the physical resources we need are measurable and thus finite.
So what gives us the feeling of having more? It’s when we attach the non-physical needs with the physical ones. Let’s take an example of a house. We don’t just want a house. We want a big house. We want a shiny car. The “big” or “shiny” here comes to be because we are inherently looking for respect or unlimited happiness from the house or the car.
So you might have an apartment, but now you want a bungalow. The upgrade keeps on happening because the desire for happiness is unlimited.
Once we are able to see the difference between the “big” and the “house”, things start to make more sense. We have ample resources to fulfil our physical requirements. And when I say we, it means the whole world.
Take, for instance, the example of food. We on Earth produce 1.5 times the food we need – that’s food for 10 billion people. People go hungry not because we cannot produce enough food, but because our distribution systems and societal structures are imperfect.
Earth has all the resources to fulfil our physical needs. The issue is in fulfilling the Non-physical needs. Once we are able to see the difference between the two, we can easily deduce that our wants are limited and resources are sufficient.