The increase in the standard of living of the people is the indication of the vitality of society.
Meritorious people should certainly receive greater amenities compared to the level of minimum necessities allocated to people in general, and there should be never ending efforts to raise the level of minimum necessities. For example, today common people need bicycles whereas meritorious people need motorcars, but there should be proper efforts to provide common people with motorcars also. After everybody has been provided with a motorcar, it may perhaps be necessary to provide each meritorious person with an aeroplane. After providing every meritorious person with an aeroplane, efforts should be made to also provide every common person with an aeroplane, raising the level of minimum necessities. In this way efforts for rising the level of minimum necessities should go on endlessly, and on this endeavour shall depend the all round material prosperity and development of humanity.
Ananda Sutram (1962)
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011
Sarkar: Minimum requirements and maximum amenities
Humanistic Progressive Socioeconomics
The fourth socio-economic principle of PROUT, eleventh of the sixteen, states: “The increase in the standard of living of the people is the indication of the vitality of society.” So there must be a constant effort to reduce the gap between the income levels of those with earned surplus goods and services, and those with basic necessities. This means an approach, which, from time to time, increases the lowest wage while leaving the higher wages, untouched. This is a check on the expansion of living of society, and the defined level of basis necessities, rises. The benefits of science and technology can thus be distributed equitably and people in general can be freed from the more mundane responsibilities. Sarkar notes that mechanization under capitalism means more misery and unemployment to the common people because with the increase in the yield of a machine capitalists retrench laborers mercilessly. However under a collective economy the benefits of technology can be passed on to workers through progressive reduction in work hours.
While Sarkar supports the socialization of the means of production and the socialization of capitalist expropriation, he does not support nationalization or the communist practice of party dictatorship on behalf of society, and advocates socialism in the context of neohumanism.
Sarkar opposes wholesale nationalization on two major grounds. First, the state is entirely dependent upon bureaucrats to administer its affairs. It is impossible for any bureaucracy to run diverse large and small scale industries spread over a whole country. Where a policy of nationalization exists, there persists a smug slackness not only in auditing and accounting, but also in the administrative affairs of the department. Secondly, it is impossible for state run industries to demonstrate as much technological and industrial dexterity and efficiency as either proprietary or cooperative industries. Nationalization is not a prerequisite for socialist transformation or reconstruction, and state ownership should be restricted to those sectors of the economy, which are too large or diverse for effective cooperative management.
Thus Sarkar’s economic principles are rooted in human values and he seeks to blend the expression of human potentiality with economic efficiency and prosperity in the context of a progressive socialist society.
From New Aspects of PROUT, by Gary Coyle, Proutist Universal Publications, Denmark 1987
Copyright The author 2011