Training as an accountant involved acquiring lots of useless information – like understanding how little wire coils stored information in big computing machines (at a time when the first desktop PCs were already available).
One thing that has stuck with me and which does appear to be useful, even if I failed to appreciate and use it to motivate people was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which looks like this (with thanks to Wikipedia for the image)
Apparently Maslow never drew a pyramid, but this is the way we usually look at the hierarchy – with basic physiological needs (air, food, water, clothing and shelter) at the bottom. Once these are satisfied we can look at other needs such as “safety” which include personal safety, financial security, health and protection from accidents and illness.
After that we want to be loved and belong and then be valued and respected for who we are and with all this is in place we can realise our full potential.
Of course not everyone agreed with Maslow – he may be wrong in placing some needs “above” others and he only reflects the people he studied and not people in different sorts of groups where, for example, society needs may be more important than individual needs.
But what interests me is that money – finance – is regarded as quite a low-level need. We need financial security. But what I struggle to understand is the capitalist need to measure everything in terms of money and the desire to accumulate vast amounts of monetary wealth.
Perhaps some people try to show they have realised their full potential by their wealth, but I would be surprised if that is true for everyone when you could potentially be
- the best possible parent
- the person who discovered…
- the fastest man on earth
- the best tennis player
- a published author
So why do we concentrate on wealth so much when we measure our economies?