human needs

We explain what human needs are, how they are classified and various examples. Also, what is Maslow's Pyramid.

Human needs are much more than basic needs.

What are human needs?

In economy, human needs are understood as the union between a sensation of specific lack and the desire to satisfy it, that is, as a deficiency that we actively want to correct.

According to the typical approach to economics, these needs are infinite and unlimited, that is, they never cease to reproduce, while the resources necessary for their satisfaction are limited and finite, that is, there are a specific number of them. . Thus, the economy is the science who studies this impossible relationship and methods to try to solve it.

Human needs are found wherever there is a human beingregardless of whether you are alone or in group, although in the latter case, obviously, the proportions are increased. Its study and organization, in addition, have been the object of studies by the economy, the psychology and many other disciplines, from which a classification can be attempted:

According to its importance, two types of human needs can be distinguished:

  • Primary or biological, which determine the physiological subsistence of the individual and its Health immediate, such as feeding, sleeping, drinking Water, shelter from the elements, etc.
  • Fundamental or social, those that are also elementary for the correct or complete development of a healthy individual, but that are not determined by the biology human, but by his way of socialization, such as affection, security, the identity, a decent home, etc.
  • Secondary or supplementary, when it is not a question of vital or basic needs, but of those added once the first two are satisfied, and that therefore vary from one era to another and from one human group to another, such as wealth. , political participation, legal representation, recreation, etc.

According to their social character, that is, where they come from, they can be classified into:

  • Individual needs, when they take into consideration only the individual, that is, a specific one, even if this contradicts the needs of the group to which they belong.
  • Collective needs, when they take into consideration the whole of a community, community or society even if it contradicts the individual needs of any of its members.

According to their economic importance, they can be classified into:

  • Economic needs, the satisfaction of which requires a productive effort on the part of the entire society or at least on the part of the individual, that is, of economic activities. For example, to satisfy our desire to feed ourselves, it is necessary to be able to acquire food that has been previously prepared, for which it was necessary to have inputs that were previously collected, produced or obtained.
  • Non-economic needs, the satisfaction of which does not imply any productive mechanism, but can be satisfied in other ways. For example, to breathe we only need air, and to get affection, we only need a loved one. In neither case does the human production chain appear.

Maslow's Pyramid

One of the great students of human needs was Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). This American psychologist presented his approach to motivations human beings in his 1943 book "A Theory of Human Motivation", we know today as the "Maslow's pyramid”.

Through his pyramid, he sought a way to represent human needs from a hierarchical principle. That is, it placed the most basic (and fundamental) at the foot of the pyramid, and the most elaborate (and therefore optional) at the top.

Logically, this means that to access those above, all those below must be met first, and that the higher a need is found in the pyramid, the further it is from the primary needs of the human being.

Maslow's pyramid is thus made up of five different levels, which we list from the most basic and lowest, to the most complex and elevated:

  • Physiological or primary needs. Those that survival itself dictates and that the individual must simply satisfy in order to continue to exist. Nothing precedes them, therefore, and the need to breathe, to food, sleep, protection of the environment (from cold or heat), etc.
  • Security and protection needs. Once the primary needs have been satisfied, the second step of the pyramid consists of needs related to the defense and security of the individual, that is, with their protection from harm and helplessness. Examples of these are: physical and sanitary security (protection from diseases), home ownership, etc.
  • Social or affiliation needs. The third rung of the pyramid already points to the inclusion of the individual in a community human, and they come from our gregarious, tribal nature. Examples of them are the need for relationships (friendly, loving, affective) or the need for social acceptance.
  • Esteem or recognition needs. Once the individual is part of a group in which he possesses social relationships and enjoy a identity own and group, their esteem needs appear, which Maslow sub-classified into two categories:
    • High esteem, linked to self-esteem and feelings of trust, independence, self esteem Y Liberty.
    • Low esteem, linked to respect for others, the need for attention, recognition of others and everything related to social status.
  • Self-actualization or self-need. The top of Maslow's pyramid is reserved for the most abstract and complex psychological needs of the human being, which have to do with the self-evaluation of one's own life in function of a purpose, a notion of happiness or from success, either with himself or with the humanity whole.
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