By Len Doyal
Rejecting stylish subjectivist and cultural relativist methods, this crucial ebook argues that people have common and goal wishes for overall healthiness and autonomy and a correct to their optimum pride. The authors advance a method of social symptoms to teach what such optimization might suggest in perform and check the documents of a variety of built and underdeveloped economies in assembly their electorate' wishes
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Additional resources for A Theory of Human Need
Until recently, the dominant schools of Marxism have echoed and elaborated the relativist rather than the universalist strand (Geras, 1983, ch. 1). This has generated what Lee has called the 'cynical gaze' of some Marxist writers and political activists when analysing need satisfaction within capitalism (Lee and Raban, 1988, ch. 4). To argue that what counts as need satisfaction, whether provided by the market or by the state, contains elements which are harmful, degrading, oppressive is one thing.
It is the secular equivalent of what Hegel called the 'unhappy consciousness' of early Christian obsession with the afterlife (Hegel, 1977, pp. 126-38; cf. Norman, 1976, pp. 59-64). For if it is denied that people have the same needs both before and after revolutionary success - if 'radical needs' in Heller's terms can only be formulated properly once such success has occurred then how can success itself be identified? Surely the whole point of socialist politics focused on the future is to achieve dramatic improvements in the lives of individuals who will actually live in a post-capitalist society.
One can have a drive to consume something, like lots of alcohol, which one does not need and at the same time have a need for something, like exercise or to diet, which one is in no way driven to seek. In the case of the former, the drive is not linked to preventing serious harm in some un ivers ali sable manner, even if harm can accrue in the individual if it remains unsatisfied. Addicts of certain drugs, for example, will become ill if they do not get a fix. Yet it is also the case that they would not have been harmed had they never begun to use drugs and that in the long term the satisfaction of their addiction will damage them in numerous ways - as it would anyone.
A Theory of Human Need by Len Doyal