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I am flatly skeptical that changes of that scale can be designed at all. We in the US enjoy many institutions which took decades to mature to any use. It takes dedicated bureaucrats decades to fine tune such things. And most simply don't make it.

Example: there was much meddling in the 1930s with farm production. It took until the 1970s before the modern version of farm subsidy latched in - call it 4 decades. ( See the film "King Corn" for an excellent treatise)

I've just never been able to use Maslow to make predictions. It just doesn't explain things like poets at all. People who "move up the Maslow hierarchy" often become duller and duller - all the weight of maintaining that drags em down. I've known too many people who didn't know where their next meal was coming from, and for some of them, that was a sort of freedom.

I think the magic of the Founders was all the shuffling off to The Colonies of all the malcontents and radicals, in a time when that produced favorable results. You'd get more current theory at Harvard than at King's College.

I would claim the founders had a design intent. And the bureaucrats after them. As with any large systems, the design formulation and system building is an ongoing empirical process.

I would still hold not replicating a familiar monarchy or degenerating into a dictatorship was an achievement. I'm not saying anything about any other aspects.

The thing with psychological models is that they are models and as such cannot replicate all observed phenomena. Just like physical models can't. In general we can observe that poor people lack the resources for doing what they like and struggle unhappily while rich people need something else than just wealth to keep them happy - a long term goal, a hobby and so on. I think Maslows model captures this phenomena on the level of human populations. It does not explain art. I doubt no model understandable to humans could capture all facets of human life.

What the Founders did a lot was line through the word "God" and substitute "the People". This is true to the extent that Thomas Paine ( I think that's the right person ) was followed. There certainly was a design intent - that is very true. And to an extent, Canada has had a parallel model that's worked extremely well for them. Becuase the Canadian system evolved over longer spans of time, it "feels" more empirical and less ... design-ey than the US.

The US model hasn't really been all that replicated - the Parlimentary model has proved to be more common ( possibly because of the extent of the British Empire ) . The US has advanced the idea of democracy but it's done differently. I would say we do not really know why the US has worked out as well as it has.

I just think Maslow is too reductive. There are some really happy poor people out there. To my eye, a lot of outcomes for especially, say African Americans in the US depends on much more ephemeral factors - like strong family ties - than Maslow would predict.

Meanwhile, wealthy people can be quite anomic and neurotic. I've done medium well, and I spend my time as if I were a student and trying to connect with family. The people I know who have done better seem more isolated and feel more trapped than I do.

Happiness is as much a chosen thing as a matter of resources.

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