Chapter 3. Need & Want

Need & Want

With limited supply, we can still achieve surplus

if we lessen the demanding mind

(Pittaya Wong)


The concept of Need & Want in modern economics comply to the Buddhist teachings on desire (demand) and the necessity for living.

The desire or demand is motivated by the mental craving as stimulated by sensual perceptions namely sight, sound, smell, taste, bodily feeling, and thought.  However, the craving can be toward the Need and/or Want.

The Lord Buddha made it clear in his teaching that there are four major necessities for one’s living.  They are (1) food (2) cloth (3) shelter, and (4) medicine.  Thus, they can be classified as the ‘Needed’ whereas the rest can be accounted as the ‘Wanted.’

According to our Equation of Need & Want in Dhammonomics,

Demand = Need + Want

Need = Demand – Want

Want = Demand – Need

Supply = Necessity + Luxury or Unnecessity

There is a shortage when (Need + Want) > (Necessity + Luxury)

There is a surplus when (Need + Want) < (Necessity + Luxury)

The modern economics is fundamentally different from Dhammonomics in such a way that Dhammonomics does not emphasize on maximizing supply to meet demand, but Dhammonomics shows that we can follow the Buddhist teaching by minimizing demand.  In this case, Want can be totally or partially decreased, so our demand is mainly dominated by the Need, not the Want.  As such, satisfaction and/or surplus is still achievable.

By  Pittaya Wong

4 August 2018