Manfred Max Neef’s Human Scale Development and Geoethics

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Enrico Cameron


Manfred Max-Neef (1932 – 2019) was a Chilean economist, development scholar and activist who, among other notable contributions, articulated the Human Scale Development approach (HSD), centred on the fulfilment of basic human needs. HSD is based on a separation between the fundamental human needs and the satisfiers of those needs (i.e. ways of actualising/fulfilling them), on a classification/theorization of both the needs and the satisfiers and on a methodology for identifying satisfiers that helps to recognize existing obstacles to the fulfilment of needs, to outline preferred alternatives for the actualisation of those needs and to devise ways for realising these alternatives. This work aims to explore some relationships between HSD and geoethics. It is argued that HSD can support geoethics not only theoretically, but also practically through the identification of (geo)ethically compatible satisfiers of human needs. Geoethics, at the same time, can support HSD again theoretically and practically as well, first of all by helping to resolve conflicts between different choices of satisfiers.

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How to Cite
Cameron, E. (2023) “Manfred Max Neef’s Human Scale Development and Geoethics”, JOURNAL OF GEOETHICS AND SOCIAL GEOSCIENCES, 1(1), pp. 1–25. doi:10.13127/jgsg-28.