Author Topic: Maslow, Capitalism, Communism and the redistribution of wealth  (Read 644 times)

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Offline 5412

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Hi Folks,

As you may have noticed from an earlier post today I am very concerned and a bit afraid of what is going on.  I realized that many of us are threatened by the direction our government is headed.  That prompted me to dig out some old notes and write an article which I may try to get published.  Just not sure where to start.  I offered to post it here also.  It is four pages long......sorry about that.

regards,
5412



Maslow, Capitalism, Communism and redistribution of wealth

by 5412


In 1943 Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation”.  Over time it became known as his hierarchy of needs.

The concept was depicted as a pyramid.  As a person achieved one level, they would move up to the next.  The lower levels, having been satisfied were no longer motivators.  What motivated them was the next level of achievement.

Having trained professional salespeople, and managers, for well over a generation, we would take this information and use it to help people understand their customers and their employees and how they are motivated. 

In the process we took some liberty in using more contemporary terminology but the concept remained the same.  Let’s take a look at the individual items.

At the bottom of the pyramid, the widest and biggest need was SURVIVAL.  This is innate to every living being.  When one is starving to death, or dying of thirst, none of the other items matter to them.  This is by far the basic human need.

Once a person has arrived at that point, realizing that they do not have to spend most every waking hour hunting for food, the second level became SECURITY.  We liked to call that really survival for tomorrow.  It is the squirrel storing nuts, the farmer who has a garden and cans his vegetables so his family has food over the winter etc. 

In addition, security also includes looking after one’s health and property.  If one has a garden and all the crops are stolen, then there is no food to survive tomorrow.  In modern day terms it is a safe home, maybe a good job and some money in the bank in case of emergencies.

It was at this point we would have our students draw a heavy line across the top of SECURITY because SURVIVAL & SECURITY were primary physical needs for one’s well being.  As we progress up the pyramid, the need become more psychological.

The third level of the pyramid we called SOCIAL.  This was the need for friends, family, a social order if you will.  In today’s society a person can be members of many social orders, work, church, home, bowling league, country club etc.  There are many ways humans fill the need for socialization.

The fourth level of the pyramid is called SELF-ESTEEM.  This is achievement, respect of others, self –esteem if  you will.  In our management classes we had to explain that the fallacy most folks have is they think they need to achieve all of these items on their job.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have seen thousands of people who look at their job as just that, a job, not a career; but rather a vehicle to provide SURVIVAL & SECURITY.  At the same time they could be the Commander of the local American Legion Post, Commissioner of the Little League,  Deacon in the Church, etc. 
Their social needs are being met outside of the workplace. 

In many cases this really caused some time conflicts between job and outside activities.  I am sure we have all seen cases where people refused a promotion because it meant they would have to transfer to some other part of the country.  More often than not they would say that they really do not want the family to move; but the real reason is they have moved up on their personal hierarchy and are quite happy and do not wish to start over in a new society in some other part of the world. 

One must realize that this is possible because they do not have to spend most of their waking hours providing for survival & security.  Because of this they have time available for tending to their other psychological needs.

The fifth and top of the pyramid is called SELF-ACTUALIZATION.  In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need for self-actualization is the final need that manifests when lower lever needs have been satisfied.  This could be as simple as a long time little league coach having a field named after him…which meant his memory would live on long after his death.  It could be a wealthy person making a huge donation to a hospital and having a wing of that hospital bear their name.  It is not unusual to see a real estate developer naming streets after themselves and members of their family.

It is important to remember that these build on one another.  One cannot move up on the pyramid until they have been satisfied at their current level.  At the same time, if a lower level is threatened, say through loss of a job, the motivation immediately reverts down to the level that is being threatened.  Recall the old saying “My kingdom for a horse!”  One minute the king was on top of the pyramid, and as the armies approached the castle the motivation became survival. 

As the world witnessed, the statues of Saddam Hussein came tumbling down and he was living in a hole for his very survival.

With that basic understanding lets now look at capitalism.  Unlike any other economic system mankind has ever seen, capitalism allows the masses to not only look after their SURVIVAL & SECURITY needs; but the beauty is many can move all the way to the top of the pyramid.  When economists talk about the middle class, are they really discussing folks who are working hard to satisfy their lower level physical needs; but also are moving up the pyramid in the process. 

Let’s now contrast that with a communist or dictatorial society.  For the most part the economic system does not allow for the middle class.  Those toward the top of the pyramid are normally the government leaders.  Why is that so?  Throughout history dictators, kings, etc. have learned that when a society is starving to death, scratching in the earth for their very existence, that is such an immediate need, they are not likely to unite to overthrow the king or dictator.  When Saddam Hussein had the uprising in the north of his country, the first thing he did was have his army go in and destroy the crops.  History is full of such examples.  For a dictator to remain in power they must keep the masses in poverty.  Fidel Castro is a perfect example of that.  He takes good care of his army as they protect him but the masses must remain in the position where the bulk of their daily labor is working to survive.

Let’s compare the two systems.  A capitalist society provides for individual ownership of property and business which provides great incentives to the workers.  In a capitalistic society anyone has the opportunity to move up on the pyramid as high as they are capable of going.  We have all heard stories of “rags to riches”.  While capitalism does not guarantee equal result, it does provide the opportunity for all. 

In a communist society the government owns all the businesses.  The government does not create wealth, it destroys wealth.  The government does not provide incentive to work hard, it destroys the work ethic and incentive.

In John Jakes book, “North & South” he is discussing the conditions of both economies prior to the civil war.  His assessment was very revealing.  He said that in the north there was great productivity, the worker had great incentive to get ahead and was paid based upon his contribution.  In the south the primary laborer was the slave, their work ethic was to work only hard enough to “avoid the whip”.  They had no incentive to produce or get ahead.

This analogy also is a great comparison between capitalism and communism.  History has shown that productivity, innovation and achievement flourish in a capitalistic society, and they do not under a communist economic system.

How does this affect us in America today?

We now have a leader in America who has stated his primary motivation appears to be to redistribute the wealth.  More taxes on the working class, more government handouts for the welfare class.  Within 100 days he nationalized the banking system, is nationalizing the auto industry with the health care soon to follow.  This is a major step toward destroying the economic system that has caused our country to prosper and become the greatest country on earth. 

The fallacy is that society as a whole will be better off.  It is a great theory but history has proven it does not work.  By taking from one class and giving to another does not move the poor up the pyramid.  It does the opposite, encourages them to stay where they are and destroys motivation.  At the same time, by taxing the working class heavily they really are destroying the middle class over time because the incentive to do better is removed.  In effect the working class gives up and goes along with the system, productivity falls, innovation falls and the bulk of society is worried about SURVIVAL & SECURITY.

What allows free societies to remain free is a large, healthy and motivated middle class.  Their work ethic provides them with the means to move up the hierarchy of man.  Not only are their physical needs met, so are many of their social needs are met as well.  The culture provides opportunity for achievement and the incentives and rewards are in place.   

For a Hitler to take over a capitalist society, the first thing that must happen is the middle class must be destroyed.  He had to pit one social class against another.  All the folks who were even moderately wealthy were depicted as “rich and greedy” as though they stole their wealth from others, they did not earn it.  The middle class and wealthy must first be forced to give up the fruits of their labor.

The bulk of the population has to be worried about their basic human survival needs.  When the population is so frustrated, so worn out, so tired about hearing about how terrible things are they are ripe for a smooth talking dictator to emerge.  This smooth talker promises hope and change, things will get better if you vote me into power.  The people are so frustrated they fall for the trap and do just that.  History should provide a good lesson that the promises made are never the promises kept.  Ask any person who escaped from Cuba about how successful Mr. Castro was at keeping his promises to the Cuban people. 

The Venezuelan people voted in Mr. Chavez.  He nationalized the major industries, he now controls the media, destroys those who are the voice of dissent, and is swiftly moving toward total dictatorial control.  The people of Venezuela will be much worse off as a result.

If Americans allow capitalism to be destroyed, then they are also allowing the freedom as we know it today to be destroyed as well.  As pure as the smooth talker’s ideals might have been, once they taste the power, it corrupts. History has proven that time and time again.  As George Orwell pointed out in the book “Animal Farm”, “All animals are created equal, some are more equal than others.” 

Offline Odin's Hand

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Re: Maslow, Capitalism, Communism and the redistribution of wealth
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2009, 04:37:59 PM »
Nice read, 5412.

Thanks for posting it.
"Hell is full of good wishes and desires"~St. Bernhard of Clairvaux

"Brave men are found where brave men are honored."~Aristotle

"Generally speaking, the "Way of the Warrior" is resolute acceptance of death."~ Miyamoto Musashi

Offline rich_t

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Re: Maslow, Capitalism, Communism and the redistribution of wealth
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2009, 04:46:48 PM »
Very well written and quite informative as well.
"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." --Norman Thomas, 1944

Offline 5412

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Re: Maslow, Capitalism, Communism and the redistribution of wealth
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2009, 04:53:12 PM »
Nice read, 5412.

Thanks for posting it.

Hi,

Thanks for the kind words.  Wondering where one might get it published.  Not trying to make any money at it but.....at least in my case.....it got me in touch with why I am feeling so uneasy.  Who wants to work their butts off for their entire life and then have a government, that you no longer trust, drag you back to survival so they can give your money away to those who do not want to work.....so they can stay in power.

I really do not like that picture.

Lord, now they want to take my money and pay terrorists for crying out loud!

regards,
5412