Is there a hierarchy of value linked to human needs and motivations?
Can there be trade between levels in such a hierarchy?
Could such trade be globally interoperable, but based on “local” micro-economies?
Abraham Maslow published his Hierarchy of Needs within Motivation and Personality (1954), and it is an interesting exercise to revisit it within the context of value based systems.
Personal and group motivations are linked to value. The most basic of needs and motivations have, consciously or subconsciously the greatest value, and when these needs become threatened or unattainable it may well become the preoccupation of the individual or group to satisfy them, and prioritize them over higher needs in the hierarchy.
I am interested in what collaborative value based systems would look like for each level of needs and motivations – and whether these would originate from, and be propagated by different individuals/social groups/countries and ethnicities.
Does the base-line of value get re-drawn in times of economic or social success? When lower values become taken for granted are they devalued, or just temporarily forgotten – suddenly becoming a preoccupation once again when times change for the worse – and houses start getting repossessed.
Humans have been motivated by the same needs for thousands of years, flexibly using the technologies of the day – stone, bronze, silicon - to satisfy those needs. Looking at the great consumer success stories of Web 2.0, they seem to be demonstrations of higher motivations like relationships, status and reputation.
We seem to have developed stand alone value systems at each level - decoupling each level and ourselves from the lower motivations. Our utilities, energy, property, farming, supermarkets etc have become ever more distant, standardized and monopolistic. Private entrepreneurs or incorporated entities have set the economic agenda. We have inadvertently put our most basic of needs at risk – exposed to the vagaries of profiteering and boom/bust instability.
achievement, status, responsibility, reputation
This feels like the beginnings of a manifesto, for modern-day cooperatives – concerned with human motivations and explicitly reconnecting us with value. Trade and growth could be defined in terms of human value, not geographies or politics. A structure of globally connected micro-economies would mean individuals could collectively organize, and collectively represent themselves like no other time in history.
Surely then, we would have greater economic diversity and stability with which to grow and realize the potential of both ourselves, and others.
1. Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
3. Belongingness and Love needs - work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
4. Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
5. Self-Actualization needs - realising personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.