Labor Day, Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and Sustainabi​lity – 09/02/2011

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“Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time, a necessary precondition for human well-being. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.
Healthy ecosystems and environments provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms. There are two major ways of managing human impact on ecosystem services. One approach is environmental management; this approach is based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science, and conservation biology. Another approach is management of consumption of resources, which is based largely on information gained from economics.
Human sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity. Moving towards sustainability is also a social challenge that entails, among other factors, international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism. Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities), to reappraising work practices (e.g. using permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or developing new technologies that reduce the consumption of resources.”

“Understanding the strengths and weakness of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is important in the field of international business. Evaluating the different needs, values, drives and priorities of people from different countries – individualistic or collectivist – is incredibly valuable in cross-cultural communications, and especially within the workplace. It also illustrates how differences in values can greatly affect work atmosphere and work ethic between cultures: “ For example, societal cultures in many individualistic countries, such as the United States, may lead to an advantage in technological research and development. Many collectivistic societal cultures, such as that in Japan, may result in an advantage in workforce organization, quality control of products and service, and establishment of good relationships among contractees, suppliers and customers”.”

“”The order in which the hierarchy is arranged (with self-actualization as the highest order need) has been criticised as being ethnocentric by Geert Hofstede. Hofstede’s criticism of Maslow’s pyramid as ethnocentric may stem from the fact that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs neglects to illustrate and expand upon the difference between the social and intellectual needs of those raised in individualistic societies and those raised in collectivist societies. Maslow created his hierarchy of needs from an individualistic perspective, being that he was from the United States, a highly individualistic nation. The needs and drives of those in individualistic societies tend to be more self-centered than those in collectivist societies, focusing on improvement of the self, with self actualization being the apex of self improvement. Since the hierarchy was written from the perspective of an individualist, the order of needs in the hierarchy with self actualization at the top is not representative of the needs of those in collectivist cultures. In collectivist societies, the needs of acceptance and community will outweigh the needs for freedom and individuality.
Maslow’s hierarchy has also been criticized as being individualistic because of the position and value of sex on the pyramid. Maslow’s pyramid puts sex on the bottom rung of physiological needs, along with breathing and food. It views sex from an individualistic and not collectivist perspective: i.e., as an individualistic physiological need that must be satisfied before one moves on to higher pursuits. This view of sex neglects the emotional, familial and evolutionary implications of sex within the community.”

“Trade unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe, though the relationship between the two is disputed.Medieval guilds existed to protect and enhance their members’ livelihoods through controlling the instructional capital of artisanship and the progression of members from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, and eventually to master and grandmaster of their craft. A trade union might include workers from only one trade or craft, or might combine several or all the workers in one company or industry.”

“A guild (German: Gilde) is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society. They often depended on grants of letters patent by a monarch or other authority to enforce the flow of trade to their self-employed members, and to retain ownership of tools and the supply of materials. A lasting legacy of traditional guilds are the guildhalls constructed and used as meeting places.
An important result of the guild framework was the emergence of universities at Bologna, Paris, and Oxford around the year 1200; they originated as guilds of students as at Bologna, or of masters as at Paris.
The economic consequences of guilds have led to heated debates among European historians. Ogilvie (2008) argues that their long apprenticeships were unnecessary to acquire skills, and their conservatism reduced the rate of innovation and made the society poorer. She says their main goal was rent seeking, that is, to shift money to the membership at the expense of the entire economy. Epstein and Prak’s book (2008) rejects Ogilvie’s conclusions. Specifically, Epstein argues that guilds were cost-sharing rather than rent-seeking institutions. They located and matched masters and likely apprentices through monitored learning. Whereas the acquisition of craft skills required experience-based learning, he argues that this process necessitated many years in apprenticeship.”

“The guild system survived the emergence of early capitalists, which began to divide guild members into “haves” and dependent “have-nots”. The civil struggles that characterize the 14th century towns and cities were struggles in part between the greater guilds and the lesser artisanal guilds, which depended on piecework. “In Florence, they were openly distinguished: the Arti maggiori and the Arti minori—already there was a popolo grasso and a popolo magro”. Fiercer struggles were those between essentially conservative guilds and the merchant class, which increasingly came to control the means of production and the capital that could be ventured in expansive schemes, often under the rules of guilds of their own. German social historians trace the Zunftrevolution, the urban revolution of guildmembers against a controlling urban patriciate, sometimes reading into them, however, perceived foretastes of the class struggles of the 19th century.
In the countryside, where guild rules did not operate, there was freedom for the entrepreneur with capital to organize cottage industry, a network of cottagers who spun and wove in their own premises on his account, provided with their raw materials, perhaps even their looms, by the capitalist who reaped the profits. Such a dispersed system could not so easily be controlled where there was a vigorous local market for the raw materials: wool was easily available in sheep-rearing regions, whereas silk was not.”

“The guild system became a target of much criticism towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. They were believed to oppose free trade and hinder technological innovation, technology transfer and business development. According to several accounts of this time, guilds became increasingly involved in simple territorial struggles against each other and against free practitioners of their arts.”

“Guilds are sometimes said to be the precursors of modern trade unions, and also, paradoxically, of some aspects of the modern corporation. Guilds, however, were groups of self-employed skilled craftsmen with ownership and control over the materials and tools they needed to produce their goods. Guilds were, in other words, small business associations and thus had very little in common with trade unions. Guilds were more like cartels than they were like trade unions (Olson 1982). However, the journeymen organizations, which were at the time illegal, may have been influential.”

“Many professional organizations similarly resemble the guild structure. Professions such as architecture, engineering, geology, and land surveying require varying lengths of apprenticeships before one can be granted a ‘professional’ certification. These certifications hold great legal weight and are required in most states as a prerequisite to doing business there.
Thomas W. Malone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology champions a modern variant of the guild structure for modern “e-lancers”, professionals who do mostly telework for multiple employers. Insurance including any professional liability, intellectual capital protections, an ethical code perhaps enforced by peer pressure and software, and other benefits of a strong association of producers of knowledge, benefit from economies of scale, and may prevent cut-throat competition that leads to inferior services undercutting prices. And, as with historical guilds, resist foreign competition. The free software community has from time to time explored a guild-like structure to unite against competition from Microsoft, e.g. Advogato assigns journeyer and master ranks to those committing to work only or mostly on free software.”

“Modern guilds exist in different forms around the world. In many European countries guilds have had a revival as local organizations for craftsmen, primarily in traditional skills. They may function as forums for developing competence and are often the local units of a national employer’s organization.”

The loss of workers’ negotiating power is unlikely to turn around until the economy rebounds in earnest, according to labor market experts. With millions of people marginally employed and corporate America posting record profits, employers are likely to enjoy the upper hand for some time to come.

The loss of workers’ negotiating power is unlikely to turn around until the economy rebounds in earnest, according to labor market experts. With millions of people marginally employed and corporate America posting record profits, employers are likely to enjoy the upper hand for some time to come.

The loss of workers’ negotiating power is unlikely to turn around until the economy rebounds in earnest, according to labor market experts. With millions of people marginally employed and corporate America posting record profits, employers are likely to enjoy the upper hand for some time to come.

“Two years after the recession ended, U.S. workers still face a grim job market. And with tepid economic growth and an election year breeding uncertainty, companies are likely to have the upper hand for some time. ”

“It’s a tough time to celebrate the American worker. This coming Monday is set to mark the third consecutive Labor Day with an unemployment rate around 9% and 14 million Americans looking for work. The median unemployed worker has been jobless for six months.”

“The loss of workers’ negotiating power is unlikely to turn around until the economy rebounds in earnest, according to labor market experts. With millions of people marginally employed and corporate America posting record profits, employers are likely to enjoy the upper hand for some time to come.”


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