Hierarchy of Needs

While many social theorists resist the notion that humans are driven by innate forces, the term need is well established in everyday use and various traditions of social and economic thought and practice. Need can be explicitly normative, pointing to conditions to be met for human beings to be healthy, happy, free, fully human, fulfilling their potentials, and so on. Such needs do not necessarily become wants, because people may not know that particular conditions are required, or may reject the struggle to be more fulfilled (having decided that it is easier, less painful, or more rewarding to settle for immediate gratification). One critique of consumer culture is that it creates wants (e.g., for junk food) detrimental to satisfaction of needs (for health, etc.). Proponents ...

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