17 Critical Soc. Pol'y 5 (1997)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy17 and id is 1 raw text is: 


    City University of Hong Kong

    Chinese   and   western   notions  of need

    In this article, we compare Chinese and western notions of need, by look-
    ing at the theoretical underpinnings of need in western and Chinese
    moral thought. We do so, first, by outlining a theory of need developed
    by Doyal and Gough  (1984, 1991), second, by examining the notion of
    autonomy, third, by considering social obligations, and, fourth, by look-
    ing at the social construction of need. We conclude by arguing for a con-
    sideration of a theory of need based upon Confucian principles of con-

    Our needs are made of words: they come to us in speech, and they can die
    for lack of expression. Without a public language to help us find our own
    words, our needs will dry up in silence. It is the words only, the common
    meanings they bear, which give me the right to speak in the name of the
    strangers at my door.
                                         (Michael Ignatieff, 1990: 142)


The  concept of need is at the heart of welfare state provision in many
western  societies. It is one of two broad principles (the other being
rights) upon   which  the  allocation and  distribution of resources,
particularly public resources, are based. Writers in the social welfare
policy field have highlighted the importance  of need in determining
societal priorities, aiding professional judgement, grounding entitle-
ments  and reconciling claims (Smith, 1980). Some  talk of normative,

    Copyright @ Critical Social Policy 50 ISSN 0261-0183 SAGE Publications
    (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), Vol. 17 (1997): 5-25.


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