Arvin Panwar

Innovator, TEDxTokyo


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Definition of basic needs in current context

In 70s and 80s we used to hear the slogan,
Basic needs of a human being are, food, shelter and clothing.
So what are the basic needs in 2012?
What I feel, for now, we can add clean water to the basic needs but soon we will have time, where clean air, clean water, hygienic living space, and hygienic food will become the basic requirements! We only have to wait for another decade i believe to this change..
What you reckon?

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    May 24 2012: This is a subtle but profound question, thank you Arvin!
    I once borrowed $500 to give to someone who claimed that they were in great need. That person used the money to take her family to a play in another neighbouring country and they stayed overnight in hotel. This was something that I was certain that I could not afford st that time but I sure would have loved my kids to have that experience. So definitions become crucial.
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    May 23 2012: You're absolutely right, given enough time and global development having access to electricity will be a basic need.
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    Jun 22 2012: The basic needs have always been the same Food, Cloth and Shelter, to the max we can add Electricity. I do not understand the word "current context".

    If someone thinks that some more things might have been added to that list of basic needs as it has been long since we were talking about that term, then may be we can check whether everyone on the Earth is having access to the basic needs that we defined earlier decades ago and if it happens to be successfully achieved then we can plan or think on what to add as a new entry in the list of basic needs.
  • May 28 2012: Hi Arvin
    I think about seven needs that should be Human Rights for all. Human Rights should be based on our human needs that are common to all people. I list, food, shelter, medical, education, clothing, transportation, water and air.

    I also like to list at least seven needs of any monetary system to see if they match with the real needs of humans.
    The seven are, crime, greed, inequality, poverty, slavery, war and death.

    Those are some of the needs of monetary systems. Just wondering how they match with the needs of others who believe we need them so badly we just shouldn't get rid of them!!

    It's not a shame. It's inhuman but many would argue we do need them. Go figure.
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    May 28 2012: Gosh, this question is so important. It's answer once a simple one is no longer unless we all are willing to compromise, except of course the minimalists. What the basic needs for the rich is different for the middle class, or poor. Not based on reality though. What I think our basic needs are, and what John Doe thinks they are will ultimately come down to the same, but quality of life and death will change.The more we have the more we think we need. Great question btw. You might be interested to know that of the three classes, lower, middle, and upper class the happiest are............wait for it....middle. I have a website, not related to this but... Have a good weekend.
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    May 26 2012: i think basic needs in current context differs from person to person!!! and i think every person needs everything that full fills him(Ex:house,car,electronic gadgets etc etc).
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      May 28 2012: I disagree. What we need and what we think we need based in reality are different.
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    Josh S

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    May 25 2012: i think transportation should be added to that need. Without transportation you can do very little. For the majority, its hard to get to and from a job, hard to get food, hard to do anything.

    Sure you can walk, but most people don't live in walking distance to their jobs and grocery store and anything else they need.
  • May 23 2012: I reckon I have a basic need for a perfectly tuned concert grand piano right now here where I am now located.
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    May 23 2012: Arvin, I think it has become clear that stress from whatever source, for example noise, crowding, culture shock to name a few, cause mental and physical disorders. Then I think some kind of peace of mind becomes a basic need. Of course the stress from feeling insecure about where you will obtain food, shelter and clothing are a background radiation that is constantly present for those living in poverty. Now even in relatively prosperous America even those who have never been hungry feel insecurity about their job and pension. I begin to wonder if the barrage of Media warnings about the newest threat has become part of the problem. I like Mr Pinker's talk about how we actually live in perhaps the safest and most peaceful era in history although that is not the impression one gets from the news.
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    May 23 2012: Well, my facebook frnz have a long list, right from clean air to mobile and internet, but still there should be something basic? how one can really define that in current context? wonder if someone has done any thesis on it :)
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    May 23 2012: i wonder who will be the first to mention the internet