The Idea Economy and Needs

A while ago, there was the Craigslist debacle where a gold digger was lamenting about how she couldn’t find her sugardaddy. In reference to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I think this is the implication in terms of focus:

Think about how our economy has changed from manufacturing to service to ideas. As it is getting progressively abstract, it’s also honing in on the individual as the main source of output – no more assembly lines and systems, it’s all up to you.

By focusing output on the individual, there is a huge premium on self actualization, because only at that stage, is the individual creative and can have ideas. Artists have been doing this for decades, eschewing the comforts of the middle class to slum it out in a ghetto while creating art.

I’ve just started to watch the Rize, a documentary about clowning and krumping, and it seems to hint at the same phenomena. Kids in LA who are growing up in rough neighborhoods found those dance forms as a way to gain esteem, belonging and a sense of safety (because they joined a neutral party in the gang situation).


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2 responses to “The Idea Economy and Needs”

  1. smelly says :

    I don’t think Maslow’s hierarchy can be applied strictly to a large, diverse and rich society. Even artists that are ghettoing it out aren’t forgoing lower bases of the pyramid, they just had as much as they feel they need in order to get to the things on top. For some people the stuff on the top isn’t really any different than the stuff on the bottom.

    I’m not sure this is really a result of a shift in the economy to one where the individual is more important, but just the fact that our society is at a point where choices about self-actualization are easier to make. Artists have always been ghettoing it out, cutting of their ears, and what not – its just easier now to “ghetto it out” when you know you can get a job at Starbucks while “working on your portfolio.”

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that Maslow’s hierarchy is still there, it just that the system has made it easier for people, at least people who haven’t been screwed by it, to get the stuff on the bottom so they can work on the stuff on top.

  2. wendaojinxin says :


    what if it’s a cycle?

    society makes it easier forgo the stuff on the bottom for the stuff on the top. but once they achieve self-actualization, it helps them get better stuff from the bottom. and then back up again and down.

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