Many economic errors are due to the fact that human wants are considered as a fixed quantity;

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

There has always been people around who feel entitled to judge what others’ needs should be.  Be it Bernie Sanders, a more or less marxist senator in the United States who wondered why there should be so many types of spray deodorants in supermarkets or the ecology activist fighting against domestic flights in France when the trains offer an alternative choice, we are regularly confronted with would-be dictocrats who believe that their own needs should be applicable to everybody else as well.

On top of that, some have an extraordinary propensity to despise material needs of others and argue that spiritual needs are the only ones worthy of attention, while forgetting that they would be themselves absolutely unable to be content with the “the black broth of the Spartans or to the pittance of an anchorite”.

On top of the impertinence of those who think they know better than anybody else what is good for others, one of the reasons for this state of affairs is highlighted by today’s quote. Needs evolve in every one of us and can therefore not be identical at a given time. Add to this progress that transforms the wants in habits and all the complexity there can be to understand man’s want appears inexorably.

Other quotes from Man’s Wants:
Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – Conclusion

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