Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Maslow's hierarchy: Inaccurate?

Maslow offers his model in a pyramid form. On the bottom is what Maslow says "we" strive to satisfy first. The physiological needs like food, water, breathing, etc. It continues with: safety, love/acceptance, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Although many people find this to be dead-on accurate, I find it off. I think that his model is the ideal order people should satisfy needs rather than the way people do. Think of the people who spend hundreds of dollars on a purse. Are these people putting their safety of physiological needs before their need to "look good" or feel accepted? To some people, safety comes second to their material wants. For this reason, his model seems to be outdated. I know many people who will eat poorly because they are saving up for their next big purchase, which is not a new stove or refrigerator, but something satisfying their self-esteem needs. This can be seen in college students on a tight budget quite often. Ramen noodles for dinner every night is worth it for a student who can't afford something they want and normal food shopping.

Perhaps Maslow thought that this was a good order for people to satisfy their needs, it does after all make sense. It puts people's needs before their wants, which is what most people have trouble doing. A lot has changed in people since this was created in 1943. People have become liberated and more free, more open about certain beliefs and the ability to buy whatever they want. I also believe people lived by his model more often at the time it was presented. However now, it seems to be more of the ideal rather than the widely practiced.


1 comment:

  1. I agree that Maslow has a good idea of what people want to complete or how they are satisfied in life. However, I believe that they order in which these needs are satisfied are subjective and vary from person to person. Not everyone wants to be accepted by society and not everyone is trying to impress others. Also people contemplate the idea of their purpose in life on a very regular basis sometimes and that goes without satisfying social, esteem, or physical needs. I agree that this is inaccurate and off.