Building Social Foundation (People’s Wellbeing)

People – Build Social Foundation

As stated by Manfred Max-Neef (Chilean economist), the principles of Economics should be about Human needs and Human scale development.  The fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be wellbeing – under no circumstance can economic interest be above the reverence of life (not just human beings) in all its manifestations.

  • The economy should serve the people and not be about people serving the economy
  • Development is about people and not about objects
  • Growth is not the same as development and development does not necessarily need growth
  • No economy is possible in the absence of eco-system services
  • The economy is a sub-system of a larger finite system the bio-sphere – hence permanent growth is not possible.


The book suggests that needs are defined according to the existential categories of being, having, doing and interacting, and from these dimensions, a 36 cell matrix is developed

Need Being (qualities) Having (things) Doing (actions) Interacting (settings)
Subsistence physical and mental health food, shelter, work feed, clothe, rest, work living environment, social setting
Protection care, adaptability, autonomy social security, health systems, work co-operate, plan, take care of, help social environment, dwelling
Affection respect, sense of humour, generosity, sensuality friendships, family, relationships with nature share, take care of, sexual activity, express emotions privacy, intimate spaces of togetherness
Understanding critical capacity, curiosity, intuition literature, teachers, policies, educational analyse, study, meditate, investigate, schools, families, universities, communities,
Participation receptiveness, dedication, sense of humour responsibilities, duties, work, rights cooperate, dissent, express opinions associations, parties, churches, neighbourhoods
Leisure imagination, tranquility, spontaneity games, parties, peace of mind day-dream, remember, relax, have fun landscapes, intimate spaces, places to be alone
Creation imagination, boldness, inventiveness, curiosity abilities, skills, work, techniques invent, build, design, work, compose, interpret spaces for expression, workshops, audiences
Identity sense of belonging, self-esteem, consistency language, religions, work, customs, values, norms get to know oneself, grow, commit oneself places one belongs to, everyday settings
Freedom autonomy, passion, self-esteem, open-mindedness equal rights dissent, choose, run risks, develop awareness anywhere

The BElNG column registers attributes, personal or collective, that are expressed as nouns. The column of HAVING registers institutions, norms, mechanisms, tools (not in a material sense), laws, etc. that can be expressed in one or more words. The DOlNG column registers actions, personal or collective, that can be expressed as verbs. The column of INTERACTING registers locations and milieus (as times and spaces).

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