Monday, August 31, 2009

Needs vs. Wants

I've nibbled around the edges of this subject a little here, mostly in regards to how we much more varied wants are in relation to needs, meaning that needs are much more apt to generating common cause. As a wealthy society (and even worse, one that still thinks it's wealthy living beyond its means and off past successes), we all want different things, many of which materially or carnally related.

But, when we are reminded of what our basic needs are, shelter, food, safety, and work our way up that latter towards more abstract notions but nonetheless every bit as necessary for "the good life" like improved quality of each of the above, community, family, friends, human interaction, commerce, etc. and when any or all of those needs are threatened, I theorize that we will be able to once again build more livable cities, when our individual priorities no longer compete between your desire to own a new F-650 and my wanting to walk across the road without being run down like a opossum on a country road.

The real underlying question in reality however, is at what price survival? Without further ado, the Indian Minister of the Environment raises similar points:
"For us this is about survival. We need to put electricity into people's homes and do it cleanly. You in the west need to live with only one car rather than three. For you it is about luxury. For us survival."