The kind of culture that would best serve a Maslowian hierarchy of needs is hardly one that would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs--the economy that can provide the goods needed for basic creature comforts. Nor one that merely mocks the use of consumer goods to respond to higher needs. It must be a culture that extols sources of human flourishing besides acquisition. The two most obvious candidates to fill this role are communitarian pursuits and transcendental ones. Communitarianism refers to investing time and energy in relations with the other, including family, friends, and members of one's community. The term also encompasses service to the common good, such as volunteering, national service, and politics. Communitarian life is not centered around altruism but around mutuality, in the sense that deeper and thicker involvement with the other is rewarding to both the recipient and the giver. Transcendental pursuits refer to spiritual activities broadly understood, including religious, contemplative, and artistic ones.A culture that disavows consumerism as a way of acquiring status? A culture that encourages us to develop social links, to grow spiritually, to create art, to love, to be truly happy? A culture that considers the environmental costs of our choices? A velvet climate revolution for sure! Wow!
Monday, January 11, 2010
A Solution to Economic Growth ?