Perhaps this crisis will finally make that clear.
Sustainable eco-friendly houses, England, UK.
In 1943 a psychologist named Abraham Maslow suggested that human beings have a hierarchy of needs, with needs at the bottom required to be fulfilled before the needs above can be attended to. In his revolutionary theory, the basic needs required for survival such as food, water and warmth are at the bottom, whilst the more emotional and higher-minded needs are at the top. Once the base layers have been taken care of, humans can pursue activities like writing a novel, singing in a choir or engaging in philosophical discussions.
Fast forward to the year 2022, when energy around the world is in turmoil. Maslow’s chart, when applied to societal priorities, as well as individual priorities, can provide us with a clearer picture of global priorities.
The hierarchy of needs.
Societies and nations, like their constituent citizens, also have physical needs such as heating, food and water. With energy being the constant required to make them available.
Once these needs have been fulfilled, societies are free to indulge in the more self-actualization type of need, and we can see these in the types of industries that dominate a nation’s collective activity.
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So, what is the significance of the Maslow model in a political discussion?
Simply put; the model appears to explain what has been an extraordinary change of priorities in our energy needs in the last few months.
For the past few decades, energy security has simply not been in question, and the energy required for our basic needs such as food, transport and manufacturing, have been easily satisfied.
With energy security not in question, came the ability for nations to luxuriate in energy policy. Nations felt they were able to turn their attention to their higher-order considerations, such as safety or higher still, national esteem and self-actualization.
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