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Oral Test 2011

Economic activity springs from human wants and desires. Human beings want the things that are necessary to keep them alive, such as food and protection from the elements of nature. We usually want a great many other things, too, and the fulfillment of these wants and desires is the end toward which economic activity is directed.

As nearly as we can tell, human wants taken globally are unlimited or insatiable. This is true because once our basic needs are met, we desire variety in the way they are met-variety in food, in housing, in clothing, and in entertainment. Additionally, as we look around, we see other people enjoying things that we do not have (videocassette recorders and home computers, for example), and we think that our level of well-being would be higher if we had those things, too. But most important, want-satisfying activity itself generates new wants. A new house generates wants for new furnishings - the old ones look shabby in the new setting. A college or university education opens the doors to wants that would never have existed if we had stayed on the farm or worked in a factory. To be sure, any one of us can saturate ourselves - temporarily, at least - with any one kind of goods or services (like ice cream or bar tending), but almost all of us would like to have more of almost everything than we have and higher qualities or purchases than we now can obtain.

Adapted from Economics of Social Issues, 1990.


To spring from: To have its origin in
Shabby: untidy and of low quality because of long use (said of clothes)

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