In Thomas Sowell’s Needs, the author defines the word need as misinterpretation of the word want. A want is a desire of an individual or individuals that are not deemed necessary. It fulfills a longing or satisfaction and can be described as material value. According to Sowell, the things people need are not realistic because of its prices. These needs are usually items that are out of reach or difficult to obtain. This includes items of high prices and are associated with financial wealth and upper class status.
The author views needs as a dangerous concept because politicians take advantage of the concept of the people’s need for their own benefit. The politicians promise to cater to what the people want but in disregard for the overall well-being of the people. Focus is placed on needs and it masks the fact that other resources suffer in order to appease the majority.` Sowell describes need as causing confusion in people’s thinking and havoc in their policies.
An example he uses is a need for food.
Food is a necessity but when an individual consumes too much, it leads to a shorter lifespan, which the author explains when describing the average American. In Sowell’s words, he writes “when it reaches the point of being positively harmful, it can hardly be called a need”. This causes confusion with the word need because something like food is not associated with causing harm. It provides sustenance and vitality for human life but is only a need when it is for survival and not surplus. Americans in general define cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones as necessities. Especially in this time period, technology has gone above and beyond anything anyone could dream of a decade ago.
Technology has also become infused in our day-to-day activities, becoming something people say they can’t live without. If the electricity were to go out, people have a hard time occupying themselves without the use of their cell phones, TVs, or computers. Then, there are others who make it a priority to always have the latest upgraded model or the newest version of something. They could have a cell phone that works perfectly fine and can run all the current applications but as soon as a manufacturer releases a newer version, these people rush to get it. Just as Sowell had written, this need becomes positively harmful. The constant upgrading bores a hole into one’s wallet and also into one’s mental status. It impairs judgment and becomes almost sinful as one falls into the temptation. Need should be used carefully because it is often misrepresented as an object of material value rather than a basic necessity.
Cite this Thomas Sowell: Needs
Thomas Sowell: Needs. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/thomas-sowell-needs/