Maslow applied to societies

The Maslowian theory of needs, appears to be hierarchical when applied to societies at large, as opposed to individuals. As has also been observed by others: to a considerable extent, an individual’s beliefs/worldview and hence, driving need/motivation is dependent on the society/surroundings they were brought up in, and the values they were raised with. People who were raised in material comfort, or in developed societies, are more likely to pursue esteem, self-actualization and transcendence needs than people raised in aspirational households, in up-and-coming societies, who are more likely to pursue safety, belongingness and esteem needs. This is most commonly observed in developing countries such as India, China, Vietnam, etc., where from an early age the need “to succeed” is imbibed upon children. And indeed, accumulation of wealth and property is observed to be a much more common driver of individuals’ actions in these societies. On the other hand, post-materialism seems to be a proper trend in developed countries. Whereas individual post-materialists who care about environment, human rights, etc. may or may not have all of their lower Maslowian needs met.

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