1st fundamental principle of PROUT

No individual should be allowed to accumulate any physical wealth without the clear permission or approval of the collective body.

Purport: The universe is the common property of all. All people have usufructuary rights, that is, the right of enjoyment, but no one has the right to misuse this common property. Those who gather much wealth and hoard it directly curtail the happiness and convenience of others in society. Their behaviour is flagrantly anti-social. Therefore no one should be allowed to hoard wealth without the permission of society. (From Ananda Sutram, 1962)

A person accumulating physical wealth without the permission of the collective body is certainly going against the interests of the collective body. This principle states that individual liberty should not go against the interests of the collective body. This may involve certain restrictions on individual liberty, but since the minimum requirements of life and special amenities will be guaranteed, this should not cause any difficulties to the people.


It is the duty of each sadvipra to protect the ignorant masses from the fatal hunger for mundane property, which is encouraged by self-seeking exploiters. These self-seekers try to hide themselves and their naked brutality under the camouflage of democracy. Really speaking, democracy is a counterfeit bronze coin engoldened by the elixir of high-sounding words.

From “Talks on PROUT” (1961), PROUT In a Nutshell 15


One pertinent question is whether both a ceiling on landed property and a ceiling on bank balances have to be imposed. It goes without saying that both methods have to be adopted, but the latter should precede the former. This will bring immediate cash to the government to help establish new industries on the one hand, and it will check the growth of capitalism on the other. By enforcing land ceilings no direct benefit can be expected to accrue to the nation because the available arable land will not be increased, nor will production be increased, since it is not the function of the government to cultivate land. Such an approach would wound the public sentiment and the public would think that the state had replaced the big landowners (zamindars). In the face of food shortages it is not advisable to change land policies immediately.

From “Talks on PROUT” (1961), PROUT In a Nutshell 15

Availability of minimum necessities

The availability of minimum essentialities of life plays a vital part not only in achieving world fraternity but also in the development of human personality. This should be tackled on a world footing and should be based on certain fundamental presumptions. Every human being has certain minimum requirements, which must be guaranteed to him or her. Guaranteed availability of foodstuffs, clothing, medical assistance and housing or accommodation should be arranged, so that people may be able to use their surplus energy – energy up till now engaged in procuring the necessities of life – in subtler pursuits. Side by side, there should be sufficient scope for providing other amenities of the progressive age. To fulfil the above responsibilities, sufficient purchasing capacity should be created. If the supply of requirements be guaranteed without any conditions of personal skill and labour, the individual may develop the psychology of idleness.

The minimum requirements of every person are the same, but diversity is also the nature of creation. Special amenities should therefore be provided, so that diversity in skill and intelligence is fully utilized and talent is encouraged to contribute its best for human development. It will therefore be necessary to make provision for special emoluments, which can cater for special amenities of life according to the age and times. But at the same time there should be constant effort to reduce the gap between the amount of special emoluments and the bare minimum requirements of the average individual. The guaranteed supply of minimum requirements must be liberalized by increasing the provision of special amenities pertaining to the age and also simultaneously bringing about a decrease in the provision of special emoluments given to the few. The never-ending effort of proper economic adjustment must ceaselessly continue at all times with a view to assisting the spiritual, mental and physical evolution of humanity, and letting humanity develop a Cosmic sentiment for a Cosmic ideal and world fraternity.

In this socio-economic set-up humanity is at full liberty in the spiritual and mental spheres. This is possible because the spiritual and psychic entities for which people can aspire are themselves unlimited and the extent of possession in this sphere does not hamper the progress of others in their quests. But supply in the physical sphere is limited and hence any effort for disproportionate or unrestricted acquisition of physical objects has every possibility of creating a vast majority of have nots, thus hampering the spiritual, mental and physical growth of the larger majority. So while dealing with the problem of liberty in physical sphere, it must not be allowed to cross a limit where it is instrumental in hampering the development of the complete personality of humanity – and at the same time must not be so drastically curtailed that the spiritual, mental and physical growth of human beings is hampered.

June 1959, from Idea and Ideology

Individual and Collective Right

Question: How will you adjust between collective spirit and individual right?

Answer: There can be harmonious adjustment between individual right and collective spirit if we follow in practice:

  1. The spirit of the principle of social equality (sama-samaj-tattva) in our individual and collective lives, on the basis of rationalistic approach.
  2. The teachings of neohumanism, in our personal and social lives.
  3. The principle of limited freedom in the physical level, because it is finite; and the policy of full freedom in the spiritual and psychic worlds, because they are infinite in scope.
  4. The synthetic path of a psycho-spiritual approach to life.

From “Questions and answers”, PROUT In a Nutshell 12

The Value of Wealth

Question: What is the significance of the value of wealth?
Answer: In the subtle economic sense the value of wealth is the real wealth. Wealth, if not properly defined, may mean only riches. But the value of wealth is to be measured in terms of its capacity to purchase commodities. That is, the purchasing capacity of wealth is its real value. Economists have not yet properly understood this real value of wealth in numerical terms.
From “Questions and answers”, PROUT In a Nutshell 14

Saturation of requirements

Question: Once PROUT is established, will we reach a saturation point for the minimum requirements in the physical, psychic and spiritual strata?
Answer: It has been said that according to PROUT the minimum requirements of life should be assured through the availability of essential goods and purchasing power. It has also been said that the minimum requirements of life are not of a fixed standard – they must increase in the course of time. Though physical hunger is limited, human longing is infinite, as this is something subtle.
From “Questions and answers”, PROUT In a Nutshell 14

Quenching aspirations

Question: If the land is bountiful and the per capita income is very high, does it mean that the all-round micro-psychic conations or the all-round micro-psychic aspirations of the people are fully quenched or not?
Answer: No. To quench the all-round micro-psychic longings of the people, there must be the following:

  1. Psycho-spiritual education. There can be balkanization of society if there is no psycho-spiritual education.
  2. Rule by moralists.
  3. A balanced structure.
  4. Ever-increasing purchasing power. If the per capita income is 50,000 rupees and the price of 100 kg. rice (quintal) is 80,000 rupees, the condition of the people will be very bad.

From “Questions and answers”, PROUT In a Nutshell 18

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

The Collective Body

The first of the fundamental principles of PROUT states: “No individual should be allowed to accumulate any physical wealth without the clear permission or approval of the collective body.” This gives effect to the idea of collective property rights. While individual freedom in all spheres is valuable and to be preserved, economic ‘freedom’ is of a different nature because it involves the possible misutilization and misallocation of finite resources. Accumulation in one area or by one group necessarily means depletion of the resources available in another area or to another group. Therefore there can be no absolute economic ‘freedom’ as this only implies the freedom to exploit. The very propagation of such absolute economic license in the name of freedom is part of psycho-economic exploitation.

The collective body has to set parameters of individual accumulation for all and then approve the exceptions to these general rules as and when exceptions are necessary. In this way there is a basis for a healthy blending of collective and individual interests.

From New aspects of PROUT, by Jayanta Kumar
Proutist Universal Publications, Denmark 1987

Copyright The author 2011

Deep background: No accumulation without permission, from the booklet PROUT What It Stands For