Blue Flower

Part 3: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the Nation

This is the last article in a series of three. The other articles are:

  1. Maslow and the Person;
  2. Maslow and the Organisation;

This is the third article in a series of three articles on the Hierarchy of Needs of Maslow. In this article I will look into the Hierarchy of Needs of a country. A country is created during the course of history. Without going into political geography a nation exists, like an organisation, of a group of people with the same interests.

Like an organisation a country consists of people. And like a person can strive for different needs the people of the country might strive for different needs and in the end for self-actualisation. One could say that all people together strive for different needs and in the end for self-actualisation. Should a country strive for the same needs as a single person does?

A country gets its livelihood from the people living within its borders. The people need to appreciate living in the country. As the people in the country are sure of their existence so will the country be certain of its existence. So the country should strive for ensuring the existence of its inhabitants.

When the country has ensured for the existence of its citizens it is time to ensure security. The country shall have to provide for personal and financial security, health and welfare and should provide a safety net against accidents.

Around 1500 AD Europe had about 500 states competing for limited resources. Of these 500 only 45 states remain. Competition for resources led to horrible wars at the start of the 20th century.  In response, the supranational European Union was founded. Countries want to belong to this economic union because they get an entry to a large and communal market, where the same rules apply.

The need for appreciation and recognition also plays a role in nations. For the people of a nation because they will choose to emigrate to another country. For organisations because they are free to settle where they want. Appreciation and recognition from other countries too. Because the pursuit of its own interests without being valued by others may easily lead to a lonely position.

The need for self-actualisation is also important for a country. It has to strive to eliminate poverty, for an educated workforce and prevention of pollution. Not growth for the sake of growth itself, when milk powder laced with melamine is sold, but a society where life is good and where companies pay attention to their business environment.

In such a country it should be good living for everybody. As it is as society we are working more and more efficient. School classes are increased in size so staff lacks time to do more than teach a standard curriculum.

Demands on people are liable to increase in the future. It is not surprising that more and more differentiations of people are discovered. People with dyslexia or with any other differentiation are likely to fall off the map. Because teachers no longer have time to pay attention to everybody these students are sent to special schools, no matter how intelligent they may be, and what contribution they might have had to society.

But is this the correct path to follow? As a company may decide to be more corporate social responsible a country should also be more socially responsible governed.