Concepts of Economics


Wants, in the context of economics, represent an infinite array of desires for various goods and services that individuals seek to consume to fulfill their needs and enhance their well-being. These wants can be as diverse as the people who harbor them and encompass both tangible goods and intangible services.

Tangible goods are physical items that can be seen and touched, forming an integral part of human wants. These may encompass everyday items such as food, clothing, electronics, and vehicles, as well as more significant investments like houses or real estate properties. The desire for tangible goods can be motivated by basic necessities, comfort, status, or even emotional satisfaction.

In contrast, intangible services are non-physical offerings that cater to specific needs or requirements. They encompass a vast range of human wants, including the services of professionals like doctors, lawyers, and teachers, as well as artisans such as cobblers or carpenters. Additionally, entertainment services like actors and musicians fulfill the desire for amusement and pleasure.

Human wants are inherently insatiable, constantly evolving with changing times and societal norms. As one need is satisfied, new wants emerge, perpetuating an ongoing cycle of desires. This insatiability is due to the fundamental nature of resources being limited or scarce. The availability of resources, including money and time, sets constraints on the extent to which wants can be satisfied. As a result, individuals must prioritize and make choices about which wants they are willing to fulfill, considering the trade-offs involved.

Moreover, wants are often used interchangeably with terms such as ends, desires, aims, or objectives. This reflects their central role in driving human behavior and decision-making. People’s wants are the motivating factors behind their actions, influencing the way they allocate their resources to achieve their goals.

In the realm of economics, understanding and analyzing human wants is crucial for policymakers, businesses, and individuals alike. Governments utilize this knowledge to design policies that cater to the collective wants of society, striking a balance between different needs and ensuring the efficient allocation of resources. Businesses and entrepreneurs, on the other hand, aim to identify and cater to specific wants to create products and services that resonate with consumers, thus driving economic growth and prosperity.

In conclusion, human wants to encompass a vast array of desires for goods and services that individuals seek to fulfill for their well-being and satisfaction. Whether tangible goods or intangible services, these wants are limitless and ever-changing, driven by human nature and influenced by the availability of resources. Understanding and addressing human wants plays a crucial role in shaping economic activities and improving the overall quality of life for individuals and societies.


In the field of economics, scarcity lies at the very heart of the discipline, serving as a foundational concept that underpins the study of human behavior and resource allocation. Scarcity, in its essence, denotes the inherent limitation in the supply of resources, goods, and services relative to the infinite wants and desires of individuals and society as a whole. It is a concept deeply rooted in the interplay between supply and demand, where the availability of resources is compared to the prevailing level of demand to ascertain its scarcity.

It is essential to understand that scarcity is not solely about the absolute quantity of a particular resource or commodity; instead, it is the relationship between the available quantity and the level of demand that shapes its scarcity. Even when goods and services are abundant in the market, they are still considered scarce if people lack the necessary financial means to fulfill all their wants and needs. In this context, scarcity is intrinsically tied to the concept of opportunity cost – the idea that choosing to allocate resources to one particular want necessitates forgoing the opportunity to allocate those resources to another.

Contrary to common misconceptions, scarcity does not necessarily imply a shortage of resources. It is possible for a resource to be abundant in nature, but due to limitations in technology, distribution, or purchasing power, it remains scarce from an economic perspective. For instance, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power may be abundant in some regions, but their implementation and affordability could be limited, resulting in scarcity relative to the demand for sustainable energy.

The study of economics revolves around addressing the challenges posed by scarcity and making optimal choices in resource allocation to satisfy the most pressing wants and needs of individuals and society. Economic agents, be it individuals, businesses, or governments, are constantly confronted with the reality of scarcity, compelling them to make decisions on how to utilize their limited resources efficiently. This decision-making process involves evaluating trade-offs and opportunity costs, which are central to the principles of economics.

Indeed, scarcity is a driving force that incentivizes innovation, efficiency, and productivity. Without scarcity, there would be no compelling need for the study of economics since resources would be abundant, and every want could be immediately satisfied. However, the reality of scarcity necessitates the study of how societies produce, distribute, and consume goods and services amidst limited resources, making economics an indispensable field of study for addressing the challenges of our complex and dynamic world.

In conclusion, scarcity in economics denotes the limitation of resources, goods, and services in relation to the insatiable wants and desires of individuals and society. It is the fundamental concept that underpins the study of economics, as it compels economic agents to make choices in allocating their limited resources to satisfy their most crucial needs. Scarcity is not contingent on the absolute quantity of a resource but rather its availability in relation to the prevailing demand. As long as wants remain unfulfilled due to constraints such as purchasing power or other limitations, scarcity persists, prompting the ongoing need for the study of economics to navigate the challenges posed by limited resources and unlimited wants.


Choice, in the realm of economics, is a fundamental concept that emerges from the inherent disparity between the boundless human wants and the finite resources available to fulfill them. As individuals, firms, and governments grapple with the reality of scarcity, they are compelled to make decisions and prioritize various alternatives. These decisions encompass a wide range of economic activities, and the choice becomes the pivotal mechanism through which resource allocation and utilization take place.

At its core, choice signifies the act of selecting one option from multiple alternatives. With unlimited human wants and diverse opportunities, individuals and economic agents must navigate a complex landscape of possibilities to make decisions that best suit their needs and aspirations. This selection process entails assessing the costs and benefits associated with each alternative and evaluating the trade-offs involved.

Economic decisions made by individuals, firms, and the government all involve choice. Individuals must make choices about how to allocate their income and time, deciding which goods and services to consume and which to forgo. Firms, on the other hand, face choices regarding production methods, pricing strategies, and investment decisions, aiming to maximize profits while optimizing resource utilization. Similarly, governments grapple with choices related to public policy, budget allocation, and regulations, seeking to promote societal welfare and economic stability.

Three key aspects underpin the process of choice:

1. Deciding the resources to be produced and utilized:
Economic agents must determine which goods and services to produce and allocate resources accordingly. This entails identifying the most critical needs and wants of society and aligning production with demand. The allocation of resources is a crucial element in achieving economic efficiency and ensuring that resources are channeled to areas of greatest societal benefit.

2. Deciding how to get the resources:
The means of acquiring resources play a pivotal role in economic decision-making. This aspect involves selecting the most effective and efficient methods to acquire the necessary inputs for production or consumption. For firms, it includes sourcing raw materials, labor, and capital at optimal prices and quantities. Governments may decide on taxation policies and methods to fund public goods and services.

3. Deciding when to use the resources:
Time is a precious and limited resource, and determining the timing of resource utilization is critical. Economic agents must evaluate the opportunity costs associated with time, as using resources in one way may forego the chance to use them in another. For individuals, this may mean deciding when to make purchases or invest. For firms, it involves assessing production schedules and inventory management. Governments must also consider the timing of public projects and policies.

In conclusion, choice is an indispensable aspect of economics, arising from the inescapable reality of scarcity. The selection of various alternatives is central to economic decision-making for individuals, firms, and governments alike. As they grapple with unlimited wants and finite resources, economic agents must navigate the complexities of resource allocation, production, and consumption. Understanding and effectively exercising choice is essential for achieving economic efficiency, growth, and the optimal satisfaction of wants and needs in a world where resources are constrained but possibilities are vast.


The concept of “Scale of Preference” is a fundamental principle in economics that plays a crucial role in understanding individual decision-making and resource allocation. It represents a hierarchical list or ranking of a person’s wants or preferences in order of their importance or priority. As human wants are diverse and limitless, individuals must make choices and prioritize their desires, placing the most significant wants at the top of their scale of preference.

At the core of the scale of preference lies the principle of rationality, wherein individuals strive to maximize their well-being and satisfaction given the constraints they face, such as limited income and time. By establishing a scale of preference, individuals can systematically assess the trade-offs involved in choosing one option over another.

The topmost want on the scale of preference holds the highest priority and urgency. It represents the most critical need or desire that an individual seeks to satisfy before addressing other wants. Once this top wants is fulfilled or partially satisfied, attention shifts to the subsequent wants on the scale.

The process of setting a scale of preference is subjective and varies from person to person, depending on their unique preferences, values, and circumstances. For example, an individual facing financial constraints might prioritize basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing at the top of their scale, while recreational activities and luxury goods might rank lower in importance.

The scale of preference also evolves over time, reflecting changes in an individual’s life stage, income level, and personal goals. As circumstances change, the ranking of wants may be adjusted accordingly, and new wants may emerge while others become less significant.

Understanding the scale of preference is vital for various economic actors. For consumers, it helps in making informed decisions about spending and consumption patterns, ensuring that they allocate their limited resources to satisfy their most pressing needs first. For businesses, comprehending consumers’ scale of preference allows them to tailor their products and marketing strategies to meet the most crucial demands of their target market effectively.

Governments and policymakers also take the scale of preference into account when designing public policies and allocating resources for public goods and services. By recognizing the top priorities of citizens, governments can address the most critical societal needs and enhance overall welfare.

In conclusion, the scale of preference serves as a cornerstone of individual decision-making in economics. It enables individuals to prioritize their wants, focusing on fulfilling the most important desires before addressing others. As a dynamic and subjective concept, the scale of preference reflects the diverse and ever-changing nature of human wants and plays a significant role in shaping economic behavior and resource allocation.


The Scale of Preference holds immense importance in the field of economics and decision-making, serving as a valuable tool with far-reaching implications for individuals, businesses, and governments. Let’s explore the significance of the Scale of Preference in detail:

1. Arranging Human Wants: The Scale of Preference provides a systematic and organized way to arrange and prioritize human wants. As human desires are diverse and unlimited, this tool allows individuals to rank their wants in order of importance. By establishing a hierarchy of preferences, individuals gain clarity on which wants are more urgent and need immediate attention, facilitating effective decision-making.

2. Facilitating Choice Making: Decision-making is an integral part of life, and the Scale of Preference plays a pivotal role in this process. When faced with limited resources and an abundance of wants, individuals can use the Scale of Preference to evaluate trade-offs and make informed choices. It allows them to allocate resources in a manner that aligns with their most critical needs, ensuring that their actions are rational and goal-oriented.

3. Optimum Allocation of Resources: One of the primary objectives of economics is to achieve efficient resource allocation. The Scale of Preference enables individuals to allocate their scarce resources, such as time and money, in a manner that maximizes their overall satisfaction and well-being. By addressing the most important wants first, individuals can avoid wasteful spending and direct resources to areas that yield the highest utility.

4. Insight into Human Wants: The Scale of Preference provides a snapshot of an individual’s preferences and priorities at a specific point in time. By analyzing this ranking, economists and businesses gain valuable insights into consumer behavior. Understanding consumer preferences is critical for firms to design products and services that align with market demand, leading to improved customer satisfaction and market success.

5. Resource Utilization for Consumers: For consumers, the Scale of Preference acts as a strategic tool to efficiently utilize their resources. By focusing on fulfilling top-priority wants, consumers can avoid overspending on less important items and achieve a better balance between consumption and savings. This contributes to financial stability and long-term well-being.

6. Policy Implications: Governments and policymakers also benefit from understanding the Scale of Preference. By analyzing the preferences of citizens, governments can develop targeted policies and allocate resources to address the most pressing societal needs. This helps enhance overall welfare and ensure that public resources are channeled to areas that have the most significant impact on citizens’ lives.

In conclusion, the Scale of Preference holds great significance in economics and decision-making processes. It empowers individuals to prioritize their wants, make rational choices, and allocate scarce resources efficiently. For businesses and policymakers, understanding consumer preferences through the Scale of Preference helps tailor products, services, and policies to meet the specific needs of the target audience. Overall, this tool contributes to better resource management, enhanced well-being, and a more efficient and productive economy.


Opportunity Cost, a fundamental concept in economics, embodies the idea of the real cost incurred when a decision is made, representing the value of the best alternative that is forgone or sacrificed in favor of the chosen option. It is the cost of choosing one option over another and highlights the trade-offs involved in decision-making.

When Mr. Johnson decides to purchase a television set instead of a radio set, the opportunity cost of the television set is the value of the radio set that he forgoes. In other words, the benefits and satisfaction he could have obtained from having the radio set are lost when he chooses the television set.

The concept of opportunity cost has wide-ranging applications and implications:

1. Daily Decision-Making: In our everyday lives, we face numerous choices, be it deciding how to spend our time, money, or other resources. By considering opportunity costs, individuals can make informed decisions that align with their priorities and maximize their overall satisfaction. It prompts individuals to critically assess the benefits and drawbacks of different options before making a choice.

2. Resource Allocation for Firms: For businesses, opportunity cost plays a vital role in resource allocation and production decisions. It enables firms to optimize their resource utilization by directing them toward activities that generate the highest contribution margin or profit. By considering the opportunity cost of various production choices, firms can enhance their efficiency and competitiveness in the market.

3. Public Policy for Governments: Governments also face the challenge of allocating limited resources to various projects and programs. Opportunity cost aids in public policy decision-making, allowing governments to assess the potential benefits and costs of different projects and choose those that deliver the most significant social or economic impact. It ensures that resources are used efficiently and effectively to address the most pressing societal needs.

4. Long-Term Planning: The concept of opportunity cost extends to long-term planning, as it emphasizes the consequences of choices made over time. By considering the opportunity cost of investing in one project or industry over another, individuals, firms, and governments can make more strategic and sustainable decisions that align with their objectives and future goals.

In conclusion, opportunity cost is a powerful concept that pervades all aspects of economic decision-making. It highlights the real cost of choosing one option over another, enabling individuals, firms, and governments to make informed choices that align with their preferences, objectives, and constraints. By recognizing and weighing the trade-offs inherent in decision-making, economic agents can allocate their resources efficiently, achieve better outcomes, and enhance overall economic welfare.

Read also:

Labor | Characteristics, Types, Importance & Factors

Land | Characteristics & Importance of Land

Production | Meaning, Types, Classification, Factors & Importance

Data Collection & Presentation

Tools of Economic Analysis

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