Sunday, May 1, 2011

53. The escalation of needs and desires according to A. Maslow, individual initiative and monetisation.

Individual initiative in organized endeavour and action is motivated by an escalation of needs or desires , that are according to A. Maslow as in the image in the right. The major part of the benevolent influences in the societies, come through the brilliant personal initiatives of great individuals. 
Notice that only the lower 2 (biological needs, safety needs) of the more than 8 layers in the escalation are monetised, in other words are acquired mainly by buying products or services with money. The other 6 require desires, efforts, skills and social supply that mainly do not involve buyng them with money.
For example in the internet there is an increasing abundance of free electronic art products (music, visual arts free e-products like video, relevant software, multimedia games, free educational products, free architectural and engineering blue prints, etc) that fall mainly in the levels 5,6,7 of Cognitive needs, Aesthetic needs, Self-actualisation needs. Similarly the reputation of authors, artist, social figures, and even love be other people (levels 3, 4) mainly cannot be bought with money. The larger the width in the escalation the larger the number of people that feel fulfilled and struggle for the corresponding needs. The higher the  evolution of the the society,  the larger the number of layers of needs and desires that are not monetised, and the smaller the differences of the width of the layers of the escalation.
For an intersesting video on the open source economies see http://blog.ted.com/2008/04/16/yochai_benkler_1/ ). 

Here a good question is : Would we not prefer to have the two lower layers of basic  physiological and security needs de-monetised? In other words individual as birth right to have the resources for daily survival food, health care, basic transportation, and shelter,  for all their life? The planet does have the resources for this. And why to pay to be able to survive in our own planet? The moral impact on the individual to have to pay so as to survive is an almost immoral demand. The present economic system is very often overactive in vain, for good and services of highly questionable value and utility. It wastes vast volumes of energy and human activity. This becomes more clear as the technology advances, in energy, medicine, and agriculture. We could still keep the monetisation for the surplus monetary power (capital) that the initiative of some talented individuals would need for new services and products; (micro and macro economic scale). And we could still keep the monetisation for extra consumer or similar,  goods and services that an individual might desire to enhance the wealth of his household (household economics). An obvious counter argument here is that if this would be so, then many people would not bother to work at all. I agree that in such a situation a significant percentage of people would choose not to work and survive with the absolutely basic only. At first this is not fatal for society. Maybe we are not aware that in the populations of underground ants, only 50% of them work each day. So ants have 50% uneployment for millions of years and still their populations are doing well for millions of years! (see e.g.
http://blog.ted.com/2008/01/08/deborah_gordon/ and http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/deborah_gordon_digs_ants.html ) Second  by a more intelligent re-design of our economic activities, we can reduce drastically the vain over activity of the current economic systems, so that having a percentage of the population not working is finally not a loss .And third some individuals take time to shift to a new interest, and the benefit of the society from an individual that loves what she (he) is doing is vastly larger than the benefit from an individual that is not liking what she (he) is doing and is doing it only so as to gain survival money.
Of course peace of mind  and happiness comes also when we feel that we accomplish gradually our true goals. And there minor and major goals in life. We might say that our existence has no other goal than to exist. Or that we may have many different goals, according to the scale of relevance in our existence. But one of the most beautiful and meaningful goals in life is to develop more of our soul consciousness. So all other minor goals like social success, money, fame, knowledge , creativity etc are to serve this major goal of developing more of our soul consciousness