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The concept of “needs” has been a part of modern economic theory as well as a key element for diagnosis and interventions around the social question, more specifically related to the estimation of living standards and minimum wages. The notion of “basic needs” (BN), in turn, has been attributed to psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943). In the mid-1970s, as part of a reconsideration of economic growth strategies and of the international economic order, the meaning of BN became associated with “poverty” and “development” as a central issue on the agenda of international organizations. The notion entails simultaneously a programmatic dimension, oriented to policy making, and a descriptive dimension, focused on social structure analysis. In the early 1990s, the term lost preeminence in development discourse.

The International Labor ...

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