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I’ve been interested in the work of mediator Marshall Rosenberg in the brokering of solutions. I think his methodology offers much hope.

He sees much conflict as being what he calls the tragic expression of unmet needs.

He normally begins a session by asking parties what they need.

I’ve seen some training sessions and found that people often struggle with ‘needs’ as defined by Rosenberg. For instance, people often use the term ‘needs’ when they really mean ‘wants’ – I want …

Rosenberg has developed a list of needs under headings: connection, physical well-being, honesty, play, peace, meaning and autonomy.

He also draws on Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef who has developed an economic system based on meeting human needs. Max-Neef defines 9 needs:

1.         Sustenance:  food, shelter, and water – the basic, physical needs.

2.         Safety: protection

3.         Love

4.         Understanding

5.         Community

6.         Recreation: play, rest

7.         Autonomy (Rosenberg says this is one of the most important needs)

8.         Creativity

9.         Meaning: purpose in life. According to Victor Frankl, probably the most important need of all

I’d like to look towards local development that, in Rosenberg’s words, creates “a life-enriching quality of connection that allows all our needs to be met in ways that are satisfying for everyone involved.”

And to work to build up economic understanding and a sense of how to implement it which has as its starting point, ecological and human needs. I’d be very interested in your views.

Watch interview with Marshall Rosenberg

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