On Need, Wants, Resources and Limits

On Need, Wants, Resources and Limits The conventional wisdom in economics is that resources are limited,wants are unlimited, and the business of the economist is to understandhow limited resources are allocated to satisfy unlimited wants.Typically, poverty or unmet physical need is addressed apart fromconsumer behaviour. It was not always so. Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall,and Paul Samuelson as recently as 35 years ago, for example, wereexplicit about the direct linkage between needs and wants. The changesthat have taken place over the years are attributable to a shift awayfrom an Aristotelian perspective on the nature of economic studiestowards the Enlightenment view. Challenges the conventional wisdom thatwants are virtually unlimited, resources are limited, and poverty isbest addressed apart from wants. Presents need fulfilment alongside wantsatisfaction in the context of the principle of subsidiarity which helpsdefine the role of the state in provisioning unmet need. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Social Economics Emerald Publishing

On Need, Wants, Resources and Limits

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0306-8293
DOI
10.1108/03068299310145595
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The conventional wisdom in economics is that resources are limited,wants are unlimited, and the business of the economist is to understandhow limited resources are allocated to satisfy unlimited wants.Typically, poverty or unmet physical need is addressed apart fromconsumer behaviour. It was not always so. Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall,and Paul Samuelson as recently as 35 years ago, for example, wereexplicit about the direct linkage between needs and wants. The changesthat have taken place over the years are attributable to a shift awayfrom an Aristotelian perspective on the nature of economic studiestowards the Enlightenment view. Challenges the conventional wisdom thatwants are virtually unlimited, resources are limited, and poverty isbest addressed apart from wants. Presents need fulfilment alongside wantsatisfaction in the context of the principle of subsidiarity which helpsdefine the role of the state in provisioning unmet need.

Journal

International Journal of Social EconomicsEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 1993

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