In ConsumerShift, Maslow’s hierarchy is used as the primary source of universal human needs. His system has been the most widely used one for categorizing needs. The overall scheme hangs together well on its own and it also syncs up with traditional, modern, postmodern, and integral values system values of the New Dimensions model. [Please see a previous post on "are values universal" to see my point of view on universals. ]
Two other needs systems are incorporated: Manfred Max-Neef developed an excellent system of Human Scale Development needs in support of his work on behalf of promoting the development needs of emerging markets, particularly in Latin America. He combined two categories of needs, which he called existential and axiological. The existential needs of Being, Having, Doing, and Interacting are combined with the axiological needs of Subsistence, Protection, Affection, Understanding, Participation, Idleness, Creation, Identity and Freedom.” The produces what he refers to as 120 “satisfiers”—“an ultimate sense the way in which a need is expressed.
Professor Steven Reiss at Ohio State University has derived a system of 16 empirically tested basic desires (power, curiosity, independence, status, social contact, vengeance, honor, idealism, physical exercise, romance, family, order, eating, acceptance, tranquility, and saving). His findings suggest that the desires are largely unrelated and may have different evolutionary histories. His system syncs up less directly with Maslow’s needs and overlaps into values, as defined in ConsumerShift. Nonetheless, there was some overlap and some of his desires are incorporated into the New Dimensions list of universal needs.
While both these systems approach needs from conceptual frameworks different from Maslow’s, they reach similar conclusions. A key advantage of Maslow’s system is that it suggests a progressive development over time, which fits with the views here on the evolutionary nature of values and worldviews. For convenience’s sake, the choice was to fold the ideas of Max-Neef and Reiss into Maslow’s structure, but it is acknowledged that both are in their own right commendable and deserving of attention.
Having described where the universal needs come from here, the next entry will look at how the situation-specific needs in ConsumerShift were crafted. Andy Hines
For more info.
Max-Neef, M. (1989). Human Scale Development: An Option for the Future. development dialogue
Reiss, S. (2004). Multifaceted Nature of Intrinsic Motivation: The Theory of Basic Desires. Review of General Psychology, 8(3).