The difference between a need and a want, and what (if any) difference this makes from a personal or a collective point of view, are issues that have been intensely discussed in many disciplines. The responses to this will depend on and reflect different conceptions of justice, development, and individual happiness. Debates about the differences between needs and wants are also at the heart of critiques of consumerism, which are framed in terms of overconsumption and misconsumption.

Differences between Needs and Wants: The Moral Dimension

For some commentators—notably mainstream economists and the political philosophers close to them—and in the consumer culture literature, there are no significant differences between needs and wants. They can be used more or less indifferently or, still better, not used at all, but ...

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