TED Conversations

Daryl Roche

Artist -,

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Create a paradigm shift by retooling our systems to refocus on the basic needs of everyone….

If our current global economic paradigm can be described as a balance between need and want, an imbalance has occurred whereby the focus of today's economic resources is severely stacked in favor of "want" over "need", then we have missed something very important and valuable. The result is extraordinary waste and the lives of millions spent in social and absolute poverty, the greatest waste of resources, as the basic "needs" of these individuals and/or whole populations are severely compromised and never met. This waste translates into hundreds of billions of dollars as the potential contributions of these people remains unrealized. How can we encourage a paradigm shift using our educational systems both in early development schooling (K-12), college level, and in corporate settings beyond schooling to subvert and swing focus away from "want" towards "need" to rebalance the systems and insure everyone's basic needs are provided before basic wants are promoted?

How can we create a paradigm shift by retooling our systems to provide the basic needs for everyone before promoting the wants of those whose basic needs have already been met and recapture the human potential currently being wasted?

0
Share:
progress indicator
  • Feb 6 2013: In addition and more to your point. i would like to point out a few ideas i have to alter and improve the system which might further thinking along these lines and contribute if not act as a cataylst for the shift you refer to. First of all alot of the terms we have grown accustomed to associating as bad must be looked at more carefully. the comment right before mine speaks to the influence our media and other components of the media have in shaping our thoughts. I agree socialism in its truest state ( everyone gets the same amount of money and lives the same type of life) is inconceievable or at the very least impobable, but the thinking is that anything remotely socialist sounding is considered evil. Why is this? Futhermore why is everything regarding our current capatilist economic system held to such a high esteem. Capatilism and globalization have contributed to the rise of poverty and the lowering of standards of living in virtually every corner of the world including and especially in America. Yet politicians in America hold it up as a shining economic model and anyone who fights against it or acts to change it is seen as a socialist or some other term demonized in the media. My thought is that as you said the economic model as well as poliicies of goverment should reflect the "needs" of the people and be to willing enact any policies that might benefit their general welfare. My suggestions lack the polish that would make them acceptable or feasiaable at the present time, but i believe as ideas and with some alterations they can get the ball rolling. First instead of The Federal Reserve acting as central bank, i believe it should be abolished and a new national bank be setup soley for the US. This bank instead of taking the interest as profit would invest that money made back into the United States thus greatly lowering taxes and eventually ideally elimanating them. Lastly, a minimum wage where working or not people get enough money to stay out of poverty.
  • Feb 6 2013: An earlier point made was that healthcare is not a need it is a want. Why is it not a need in modern society? we have the technology and ability to provide healthcare for everyone on the planet. people shouldn't be allowed to die or not get the help they need because of money. in just this instance alone, it is apparent that the system is flawed. 700billion+ a year is spent on military to "protect us." why not invest most of that in the general welfare and save countless more lifes. This is just one of countless shifts that need to be made in government policy.
  • thumb
    Feb 1 2013: the title is the most cool way of saying "we want socialism" i have ever heard.
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: Krisztian, thank you for participating, so for clarification -

      paradigm shift |ˈpɛrəˌdaɪm ʃɪft|
      noun
      a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

      the assumption being - …there is, has always been, and will always be poverty inexpiably…
  • thumb
    Feb 1 2013: The fist time I had a discussion with someone who did not know the difference between "want" and "need", I was shocked. I asked for definitions of both, so that I could make sense of what I was hearing. I was given acceptable definitions. But this person was unable to apply those definitions to life.

    I have since discovered that there are MANY who do not know the difference between a "want" and a "need". So you can't have the paradigm shift until THAT is agreed on. Expect disagreement.
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: TED Lover, thank you for participating, I understand and am not surprised. So for the sake of not being misleading and for the purposes of this conversation -

      a need is defined as - food, shelter, healthcare, communication…the four absolute necessities required by any human to be able to contribute and participate in their own care and the care of their family.

      a want is the desire for anything after those things described as needs.
      • thumb
        Feb 2 2013: healthcare? I disagree. If you are 93 and you have cancer, is "healthcare" a need? Or is it a want? Freedom from pain can be a need (be it through medicine or death), but healthcare as a category? That won't be so easy to sell. People die, after all. It's not something that can be avoided. It seems to me that if it is not universal, it's not a need.
        • thumb
          Feb 2 2013: So what will you do with all that money you'll save by denying healthcare to all those "impoverished" 93 year olds with cancer. And just for argument sake, the people we are discussing, those who will directly benefit from this proposal, will never make it to 93…or 63…and most of them not even 23…because the focus of this world is on the want before the need…additionally your statement infers someone aged 93 is not worth saving…which translates to healthcare being a privilege….for the young...
      • thumb
        Feb 2 2013: No, my statement translates into healthcare is not a basic human need. It is a want for those who live in a culture like ours.
  • Feb 1 2013: The current economic system is being focussed on meeting human wants, which are insatiable. Needs should be our focus. But is it that easy to decide and do? Think about the addict and the alcoholic. The grip of materialism like clamps of steel.
    As for wants, it makes us seem like one hoping to quech a thirst with salty water; the more we drink the thirstier we become.
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: Feyisayo, thank you for participating, yes it does seem "want" is insatiable however what I propose is a balance. It is not my intention to demonize "want". It's good to want, but not getting what we want at the expense of insuring that the "needs" of everyone are first met, eliminating the extreme waste that results from choosing not to meet those needs. Want is very successful at driving economics but focusing on it alone is wasteful and unsustainable.
  • Feb 1 2013: The current economic system is being focussed on meeting human wants, which are insatiable. Needs should be our focus.
    As for wants, it makes us seem like one hoping to quech a thirst with salty water; the more we drink the thirstier we become.
  • thumb
    Feb 1 2013: .
    To know the untrue, unreal or INVALID happiness will help greatly to solve this problem.


    (For INVALID (ineffective) happiness, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: Mr. Ying, thank you for participating, I read through your document and appreciate the comparisons. I especially appreciate your reference to 10,000 years ago…there was no poverty in the tribe or village that wasn't shared by everyone. Conversely good fortune also shared by everyone.
  • Feb 1 2013: But political campaigns are designed to do exactly the opposite.
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: George, thank you for participating, I don't understand your point, perhaps you could elaborate.
  • thumb
    Feb 1 2013: I think many people believe in this notion as a matter of principle (that no one should have to live in conditions of want).

    Among those who do but don't somehow act on this principle in a meaningful way, it may help to provide a vivid, immediate picture of those living in conditions in which basic needs are not met, perhaps starting with those close at hand. For kids in high school, for example, if everyone wears the same clothes and has a cellphone, and if people don't see beyond this face to the world, they don't realize the family isn't eating or whatever else.

    When distances are involved, as, for example, when people see pictures of refugees in conditions of great need and risk, the challenge is often for people to understand how exactly to make a dent in the problem beyond what they or their families are already doing. There is already a lot of talking and awareness of this issue in schools and beyond, but a disconnect between seeing a problem and knowing something effective to do.
    Do you have some favorites among the TED talks that address this issue of how best to deal with global poverty and related needs?
    • thumb
      Feb 1 2013: Fritzie, Thank you for participating, yes, in the abstract most people would find the living conditions of the impoverished deplorable in principle however, with few exceptions will continue with their lives chasing "want" to the exclusion of insuring the "needs" of everyone first being met. This the direct result of the prevailing economic model's influence on the population, through media and commercialization, viewing human beings as a means to increase profits. Whereas the systems supporting economics were once tools of human beings, we have become tools for the machines called economics. We are pummeled every minute of every day with advertising and so-called news to succumb to our desire. We are taught in school to win at all costs. We are told by our employer that the company's bottom line is our only goal. The same employer may also bully us into making a contribution to a charity of the employers choice, i.e. the United Way, where a whopping $0.51 of every dollar actually goes to the charity, or UNICEF - $.14 or The Red Cross - $0.39 and so on…the focus is not on NEED, but instead on WANT…and all of this can be attributed to a seemingly global "underlying assumption"…there is, has always been, and will always be poverty inexpiably…the disconnect isn't simply between "seeing" and "doing", it's more in accepting this assumption…or not. The shift is in choosing…not.
      • thumb
        Feb 1 2013: I think marketing/advertising have, indeed, become expert in manipulation and creating appealing scenarios that encourage consumption. I don't believe that at school students are encouraged to win at all costs. I cannot figure out what you are refering to in this claim.