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October 19, 2018 

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BACKSTOP RESOURCE: A sustainable, renewable natural resource that is used in place of, and as a substitute for, finite, exhaustible natural resources that have been exhausted. A sustainable resource is one in which the amount used today cannot reduce the amount available tomorrow.The best example is solar energy. No matter how much solar energy we use today, the same amount reaches the planet every day in the future. A backstop resource is then a sustainable resource, like solar energy, that society uses after finite resources, like fossil fuels, have been exhausted. In fact, solar energy is often considered THE backstop energy resource. It represents THE "safety net" that's available when fossil fuels are depleted.

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NEEDS:

The physiological or biological requirements for maintaining life, such as air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Physiological needs are often contrasted with psychological wants that make life more enjoyable, but are not essential for existence.
Satisfaction is achieved by fulfilling needs. The pursuit of satisfaction, the fulfillment of needs (as well as wants), motivates human behavior, including all types of economic behavior--buying, selling, producing, and consuming.

Consider a few examples.

  • Duncan Thurly, a normal human being, is hungry. This hunger need motivates him to purchase a Deluxe Club Sandwich from Manny Mustard's House of Sandwich. This results in the production of a Deluxe Club Sandwich by Manny Mustard, which also entails the purchase of meat, bread, condiments, and other assorted inputs. Once he consumes this sandwich, Duncan is still hungry, so he purchases a Hot Mamma Fudge Bananarama Ice Cream Sundae. This results in the production of the hot fudge sundae and also entails the purchase of ice cream, hot fudge topping, bananas, and other inputs. A great deal of economic activity is triggered by Duncan Thurly's hunger.

  • Duncan Thurly is also sleepy. The neighbor's dog has been barking incessantly for fourteen straight nights. The need for sleep motivates Duncan to purchase a new bed. He also buys a new radio that plays only soothing music. He then purchases a set of ear plugs. Because none of this works, he pays a company to remodel his bedroom, adding eight inches of sound-proofing insulation. He subsequently hires a real estate agent to sell his house. A great deal of economic activity is triggered by Duncan Thurly's need for sleep.

  • Duncan Thurly is further in need of shelter. Having sold his house, Duncan has no protection from the weather. The temperature has dropped to five below zero. Duncan is concerned about frostbite, hypothermia, and freezing to death. He breaks into the MegaMart Discount Super Center, finds the bed display and curls up for the night, warm and protected. This sets off burglar alarms and sends the police to investigate. Duncan is subsequently prosecuted and spends the next five years in prison. A great deal of economic activity is triggered by Duncan Thurly's need for shelter.

<= NEAR-PUBLIC GOODSNEEDS STANDARD =>


Recommended Citation:

NEEDS, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: October 19, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | wants | unlimited wants and needs | consumer sovereignty |


Or For A Little Background...

     | scarcity | satisfaction | incentive | free lunch | resource allocation | value |


And For Further Study...

     | three questions of allocation | second rule of subjectivity | consumer sovereignty | good | service | needs standard | production possibilities | utility analysis | consumer demand theory | elasticity |


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