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Human needs

Human need is a term used to describe a comprehensive set of fundamental basic needs that are culturally and historically universal, non-overlapping, non-substitutable, complementary to one another, and must be satisfied on a persistent basis. The Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef definition which is also used to determine human needs for the fourth system condition of The Natural Step presents a list


  • protection
  • affection
  • idleness
  • identity
  • freedom
  • creativity
  • participation
  • understanding

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is probably the most well-known definition; the bottom of the pyramid represents real basic needs for survival as shelter and food, the top self-realisation. Human needs as described in the “Our common future” future’’ (also known as ‘‘the Brundtland Report’’ 1987) is one of the most essential terms to understand towards a better and more sustainable society.


The challenges confronted by overconsumption, on the one hand, and grinding poverty on the other, the Commission called for sustainable development, defined as ‘‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’’. To reverse the unsustainable trends of overconsumption is maybe the most important issue to solve in the twenty-first century, however, are the rich people in the world willing to lower their criteria’s for a good life and what needed for a feeling of well-being? See spirituality and Maslow hierarchy of needs


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