- Progressive utilization theory
Progressive Utilization Theory or PROUT is a socio-economic theory developed in 1959 by Indian philosopher and spiritual leader
Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar(1921-1990), as an alternative global economic model based on his neo-humanist spiritual philosophies, and which he claimed would eventually replace both capitalismand communism. [cite book |title=Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sociology of knowledge to Zaroastrianism |first=Edward |last=Craig |publisher= Routledge (Taylor & Francis) |year=1998 |isbn=041516916X] The phrase "progressive utilization" refers to optimizing the use of natural, industrial and human resources, based on cooperative coordination on a wide basis, ranging from local communities to larger regions and nations, and between major the people of diverse geographical areas. [cite book |title=Socio-economic Democracy and the World Government |last=Ghista |first=Dhanjoo N.|publisher=World Scientific |year=2004 |pages=p38 |isbn=9812385096] PROUT aims to make the world into a comfortable place for everyone, without hurting anyone. It synthesizes the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of human nature, making efficient use of them in productive, environmentally friendly actions.
The theory is not concerned solely with economics but encompasses the whole of the human individual and collective existence - physical, educational, social, political, mental, cultural and spiritual. It believes that each of these aspects must be developed in order to support a balanced, healthy human being.
Prout is a system that places the value of life before the value of objects or money. Sarkar designed Prout to stimulate the poor to take responsibility for their own advancement, while ensuring everyone's ongoing success via democratic representation and by placing limits on how much wealth could be accumulated. Sarkar included sustainability and maximum usage with minimum quantity at the core of Proutist philosophy.
The phrase Progressive Utilization Theory summarizes a great deal of its plans. "Progressive" implies that Proutist plans must flexibly change to the specific time, location, and situation so as to best meet the needs of all sides of society and environment. "Utilization" implies maximum utilization of available resources, and 100% employment of people able to work. This does not mean extracting the maximum amount of natural resources, but rather using and re-using materials which are already being cycled through the system of consumption. Similarly, full employment would utilize those from within a given area rather than outsourcing work to other regions.
Rational distribution is another core aspect to Prout, referring to distributing the materials and products of the land and market in a manner that helps the largest number of people develop to their personal and community potential. This also represents the flexible thinking of Prout in the ways that it recommends necessary materials to be distributed in ways that would facilitate accomplishing the goals of a day's work.
Minimum Necessities Promised
Prout acknowledges that people have certain needs that must be met in order for them to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.
A Proutist society would seek to meet these needs by ensuring that everyone is working in a way that will meet their basic needs, rather than through hand outs or a trickle-down methodology. If the government of a Proutist region guaranteed 100% employment, and accompanied this with a minimum wage that realistically provided enough funds for the purchase of a suggested minimum amount of each basic necessity, then everyone would be able to purchase their basic necessities.
Prout does allow for welfare checks to be distributed to those who are truly unable to work.
Limits to Accumulation
Prout believes in providing incentive to provide sufficient motivation to accomplish more. However, Prout also believes there should be a limit to the amount that may be accumulated over time, or earned within a fiscal year.
Block Level Planning
In a PROUTist system, regions known as blocks would be defined in order to make every region economically self reliant. These blocks would be identified based on common socio-economic situations, raw material availability, geographic conveniences, meteorological tendencies, cultural traits, languages, and other common uniting factors. Districts within these blocks would further group together local practices and availabilities.
The businesses of a Proutist economy would be comprised of government run energy facilities, many worker-owned businesses, as well as occasional micro credits and small businesses.
Prout refers to selfless leaders as "Sadvipras," a Sanskrit term which literally means, "those with subtle mind." Proutists interpret this usage of "subtle" as being sensitive to all the qualities of and needs held by human beings, as well as an awareness of what is needed to encourage people to develop. Furthermore, a Sadvipra would be able to resolve conflicts resulting from cultural differences, religious differences, class differences, gender differences, etc. in ways that would satisfy each party. They would also only ask others to accept an activity or conduct which they themselves exemplify.
The Five Fundamental Principles
The founder of Prout, P.R. Sarkar initially summarized Prout in sixteen verses, five of which are regarded as the most fundamental. The first principle is a challenge to basic capitalist notions.
#"No individual should be allowed to accumulate any physical wealth without the clear permission or approval of the collective body."
#"There should be maximum utilization and rational distribution of all mundane, supra-mundane, and spiritual potentialities of the universe."
#"There should be maximum utilization of the physical, metaphysical, and spiritual potentialities of the unit and collective bodies of human society."
#"There should be a proper adjustment amongst these physical, metaphysical, mundane, supramundane and spiritual utilizations."
#"The method of utilization should vary in accordance with the changes in time, place, and person, and the utilization should be of a progressive nature."
Prout in the world
The [http://www.worldproutassembly.org World Prout Assembly] , established in January 2005, is a movement to unite moralists everywhere against exploitation anywhere. It seeks to gather together the unheralded and unsung heroes and heroines around the globe, who quietly do yeoman work in countless local struggles against oppression, be it fundamentalism, fascism, patriarchy or corporate capitalism. World Prout Assembly (WPA) engages in education on many issues, with the most important topics being (1) economic democracy and cooperatives, including worker, producer and consumer cooperatives; (2) energy and water self-sufficiency, including solar, wind and water cooperatives; (3) self-sustaining, locally self-sufficient, ecological-agricultural communities that can provide the minimum necessities of life to the inhabitants of those communities; and (4) animal rights and vegetarian lifestyle. Education takes the form of websites, conferences, workshops, seminars and related literature. The movement engages practically in ways to serve economic and environmental refugees, destitute women and victims of domestic violence, and disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities. The [http://www.radford.edu/conf-serv/ First Summit of the World Prout Assembly] , with the theme "Building a New World", will take place May 22-25, 2008 at Radford University, Radford, Virginia, USA.
* [http://www.democraziaeconomica.it/ Movement for Economic Democracy (Italian language)]
* [http://www.worldproutassembly.org/ World Prout Assembly]
* [http://www.priven.org/ Venezuelan Prout Research Institute]
* [http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/default.htm/ Prout World]
* [http://www.democraziaeconomica.it/ Movement for Economic Democracy]
* [http://proutcollege.org/ Prout College]
* [http://pia.org.au/ Prout Institute of Australia]
* [http://www.proutist-universal.org/ Proutist Universal]
* [http://www.prout.org/ Proutist Universal]
* [http://www.prout.it/ Proutist Universal Italia (Italian Language)]
* [http://www.henrygeorge.org/trade/prout.htm On Proutist trade systems]
*Batra, Ravi, "Progressive Utilization Theory: Prout - An Economic Solution to Poverty in The Third World," Manila: Ananda Marga Publications, 1989.
*Dickstein, Carla. "Prout Worker Cooperatives," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/ecdem/workercoops.htm 1999.
*Dyer, Bruce. "Why Cooperatives: The New Zealand Context," Proutist Universal, http://www.prout.org/features/whycoop.htm 2000.
*Feldman, Jonathan, Michael, "et al." ed., "From Community Economic Development and Ethnic Entrepreneurship to Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative," Umea, Sweden, Partnership for Multiethnic Inclusion: 2002.
*Friedman, Mark L. "Toward an Optimal Level of Income Inequality," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/ecdem/optinc.htm 2001.
*Ghista, Garda "From Globalization to Localization: Bringing Kentucky out of Poverty," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2007/01/localization_a.html
*Ghista, Garda, "From Humanism to NeoHumanism," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/nh/frmhmnstnhmns.htm
*Ghista, Garda, "The Fall of the American Empire and the Rise of a New Economy," Prout World http://www.proutworld.org/features/falamemp.htm
*Ghista, Garda, [http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2007/05/women_at_the_me_3.html "Women at the Mercy of Globalization - With Localization and PROUT Cooperatives the Solution" World Prout Assembly]
*Inayatullah, Sohail, "Situating Sarkar: Tantra, Macrohistory, and Alternative Futures," Maleny, Australia: Gurukula Press, 1999.
*Inayatullah, Sohail and Fitzgerald, Jennifer, "Transcending Boundaries: Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar's Theories of Individual and Social Transformation", Queensland: Gurukula Press, 1999.
*Korten, David C. "The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism", San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publications, 1999.
*Krtashivananda, Acarya Avt., "Democracy in Practice," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/democracy/demprac.htm
*Krtashivananda, Acarya Avt., "Individual Liberty and Collective Interest," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/statepriv/lib.htm
*Krtashivananda, Acarya Avt. "Prout Manifesto", Copenhagen: Proutist Universal Publications, 1988.
*Krtashivananda, Acarya Avt. "The Historical Need for Prout," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/existence/histneed.htm
*Kumar, Jayanta, ed., "New Aspects of PROUT," Calcutta: Proutist Universal Publications, 1987.
*Lokesh, M.B. "Prout: And The End of Capitalism and Communism." Proutist Universal Publications. Torino, Italy. 1990.
*Maheshvarananda, Dada, "After Capitalism: Prout's Vision for a New World", Wash. D.C.: Proutist Universal Publications, 2003.
*Maheshvarananda, Dada, "The Economy of Social Responsibility and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Marcos Arruda," New Renaissance, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1998. pp. 12-14.
*Overland, Trond, "Beyond Collectivism and Individualism: Structural Features of the Prout Economy," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2005/05/beyond_collecti_1.html
*Overland, Trond, "Prout's Theory of Revolution," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2005/04/prouts_theory_o.html
*Prout Research Institute. "Togo: A Proutist approach For Solving The Problem of Lowered Living Standards, Unemployment, and Rural Poverty," 1991.
*Prout Research Institute. "An Introduction to Block Level Planning: A Manual for PRI Staff," Prout World, http://www.proutworld.org/ideology/ecdem/BLP.pdf 1992.
*Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, "Decentralized Economy," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2007/02/decentralized_e_2.html
*Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, "Minimum Requirements and Maximum Amenities," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2005/04/minimum_require.html
*Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, "Proutist Economics", Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications,1992.
*Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. "Problems of The Day", Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications, 1968.
*Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan, "The Four Dimensions of Prout Economies," World Prout Assembly, http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2005/04/the_four_dimens.html
*Shambhushivananda, Acarya Avt. "Prout: Neo-Humanistic Economics." Dharma Verlag Publishing. West Germany, Germany. 1989.
*Tadbhavananda, Acarya Avt. "Samaj: A New Dimension in Politics", New Delhi: Proutist Universal Publications, 1987.
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