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Artur Manfred Max Neef (b. October 26, 1932, Valparaíso, Chile) is a Chilean economist and environmentalist mainly known for his human development model based on Fundamental human needs. He is of German descent. Max-Neef started his career as a Professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley in the early 1960s.
Max Neef traveled through Latin America and the United States, as a visiting Professor in various universities, as well as living with and researching the poor. He worked with the problem of development in the Third World, describing the inappropriateness of conventional models of development that have contributed to poverty, debt and ecological disasters for Third World communities.
In 1981, Max Neef wrote From the Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics, a narrative of his travels among the poor in South America. In the same year, he founded CEPAUR (Centre for Development Alternatives).
In 1982, Max Neef won the Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, for his work in poverty-stricken areas of developing countries. Max-Neef ran for President of Chile as an independent in the 1993 election. He achieved 4th place, with 5.55% of the vote.
He is a council member of the World Future Council.
On May 10, 2009, Dr Manfred Max-Neef received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters and was Commencement Speaker to the 158th Graduating Class of Saint Francis University (Loretto, Pennsylvania).