Politics > Determining Political Choice > Personal Needs and Politics (CL7)

Personal Needs and Politics (CL7)

The personal context of politics is about people going about their lives and seeking to meet their needs by interacting with others. So it includes the private sector and civil society—everything which should be as free as possible from government intrusion.

We started with the powerful at CL1, reached the people en masse at last at CL5, and we now finally reach the people as unique persons living in communities at CL7.

Are Human Needs Private or Social?

Personal needs are met within communities and other social settings. Any communal need (e.g. clean air, safe travel) reflects a personal need, and any personal need (e.g. clothing, shelter, work) is also a general need of the community.

The personal context for politics and its direct channels of influence.

There is no personal need that lacks some community relevance, or a purely social need utterly disconnected from the needs of particular individuals.

This Centre is therefore balanced.

Community v Society

Individuals are naturally diverse in their needs as well as their interests, and they form groups with common values and goals. There can be reasonable disagreements within any community about: •priorities amongst needs, & •how needs may best be met—based on:

These should be resolved with communalist values like mutuality and reciprocity i.e. the give-and-take of living together on a daily basis.

Human needs are not primarily met within society (in the sense of the nation-state): they are met locally in neighbourhoods, districts and small communities. Groups may have little representation in any community. So interests are pursued by groups within society and severe conflict can emerge locally or more widely whenever the self-interested battle for wealth and power intrudes. This takes us back to where we started at CL1 i.e. the use of power is an inescapable challenge for everyone.

Power gravitates to wherever it can have maximum impact: and this is commonly at the societal-governmental level. Arrangements for the whole of society may bring benefits or cause harm at the local level, because they can never be sensitive to the particular circumstances of specific districts or towns.

Bottom-line: a local community (or a community of shared values) is the only arena within which most people can get their needs met. This was the message of the Communalist mode. Also see: political organization in different sized territories.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 12 June 2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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