They are the necessities that man strives to have and keep in order to survive. But just as man has evolved from living in caves and hunting for food, so has his concept of what his needs are. When man learned how to master his environment, it was only a matter of time before comforts and luxuries become part of his life.
Necessities, as mentioned earlier are the very basics of civilized existence: food, clothing and shelter. Comforts, on the other hand are a step higher than necessities. These are the things that make life easier and provide a sense of security to the owner. Lastly, luxuries are comforts taken to the extreme. Though very straight forward, these definitions are very general and subject to the interpretation of the person reading them; the items that one considers a luxury may very well be a necessity for some. It is interesting to note that as a general observation, this difference is not dictated merely by race or culture; other social pressures are at work as well.
Quoting from Gabriel Tarde, a French sociologist, “what started as an industrial innovation enters the markets as the extravagance of an elite before it finally turns, step by step, into a need of each and all and is considered indispensable. What was once a luxury becomes in the course of time a necessity. ”
An examination of how computers and the internet have become 20th century necessities in most societies is a good case study to show the evolution of luxuries to the level of comforts and finally to necessities.
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