Needs and Wants and Needs Not Met
We are trying to live in an economy of wants. We've been living in ignorant bliss, nourished by whom? Natural law dictates that we can only live in an economy based on meeting needs, if that economy is to be maintained and stable. Aside from the obvious needs of - food, water, and shelter – what are our other needs? Acceptance, approval, being valued, being wanted, being recognized, learning and appreciating, safety, security, and the elimination of risk and fear constitute a social/psychological need! These last needs are non-material.
Our present economy of wants capitalizes on our social/psychological needs, and in a virtual way attempts to meet or replace these needs with something that can be commoditized and sold, ‘wanted’. Social/psychological needs take individual work, risk, and sometimes perceived sacrifice to achieve. Work, risk, and sacrifice we often set as virtues, but do we also get another set of signals to avoid, if not abhor these when we view them through a pragmatic lens? If shown something that appears to satisfy one of these needs, are we easily persuaded to purchase it, ‘want it’ to soon find it really doesn’t satisfy the real underlying need and we continue to search, find, want, and buy. Is this the basis for our consumption based economy which necessitates ever increasing levels of consumption? Is the real satisfaction of the underlying needs not being found, and the need to consume continues.
Why the need for ever increasing levels of consumption? We can produce what we need today with many fewer hours of human work. Do we then invent jobs to employee those who are not needed to provide for real needs. As we live in a closed system, this can not go on indefinitely. One solution may be to put more people to work for fewer hours producing the products and services that meet real needs. The social/psychological needs presently perceived as wants, may be then realized in the time individuals are not working at paying jobs, but instead interacting socially with others. What changes might evolve in the interrelationships of people over several generations if time was available and spent to meet our social/psychological needs, rather than earning money?
Who are the beneficiaries of ever increasing levels of consumption? We are being encouraged to help our economy grow. How far can an economy grow, forever? What if the paradigm was for a stabile, balanced economy? I’ve not yet heard politicians, or anyone in finance or positions of power suggest that a stable balanced economy is to be desired. Why? For that matter, I’ve not heard anything in the media about the significance of population and technological capacity as it relates to the marketplace or economies.