Maximum Utilization and Rational Distribution
There should be maximum utilization and rational distribution of all mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities of the universe.
The first principle of PROUT is intended to fulfil artificial human wants. But apart from these man-made wants there are certain natural ones, which are difficult to satisfy for the existing theories. While desperately attempting in vain to solve these problems through wrong methods, the individuals are just putting themselves into greater labyrinthine hazards of more intricate problems on the one hand and on the other throwing others as well into utter darkness of uncertainty and failure.
In some countries politicians and economists are raising slogans of “consumption control”while other countries are making frantic efforts to free their peoples from wants by reducing the number of new-born hungry mouths through birth control – an unconscientious, vain effort indeed. The plan in either case is by no means conducive, rather it is highly detrimental to human progress. It is nothing short of an insult to exhort people to control consumption by launching campaigns like “miss a meal” and try to make them contended while they really need to eat and drink more. Capitalist states, believing in Malthusian theory have drawn up a plan that will decidedly promote their own interests and at the same time prevent once and for all the birth of a revolutionary generation.
“The capitalist class found in Malthus’ theory of population the defence of its interests, prejudices and abuses which were at the point of being overthrown by subversive egalitarian theories.” (Marx in Das Kapital)1 In China and India, the world’s two largest countries, capitalist economy disguised as socialism has been all the more painful in this particular area as their peoples have been utterly confused by the volleys of advices for consumption control on the one hand and slogans of artificial birth control on the other.
In the considered opinion of PROUT the policy is held as much as responsible as the policy makers who establish a cruel regime whose sole purpose is to fulfil their selfish designs by ruthless suppression of all creative forces. It cannot be gainsaid that the total carrying capacity of the universe at present is adequate enough to feed and clothe not only the present generation but also its descendants yet to come. At the 1964 World Population Conference in Rome the department of population of the UNO issued a statement that read: “The power of earth to produce food and other necessities of life is very elastic, depending to a great extent on human inventiveness. Even with its present extent of knowledge and with the existing forms of society, conservative estimates imply larger population than the earth now supports. If all potentially productive lands were cultivated and if modern agricultural sciences were fully applied everywhere the production of food would be several times over. Studies of the reserve of coal, iron and other resources of energy and industrial raw materials show that at the prudent use and conservation they would be sufficient to meet the need of growing population for a long time to come. The possibilities of solar and nuclear energies are beginning to be realized.”
This is the statement of a very important organization. It is not at all easy to refute these observations by weak and hollow arguments. Apart from this report various experts of international stature like W.S. Woystinsky and others have expressed similar views. In June 2010 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the world population requires a 70% increase in food production by 2050, and that the outlook to 2050 suggests that the global food situation will continue to improve, albeit at a slower pace. FAO estimates the world population to be 9.15 billion in 2050.
In the second principle of PROUT it has been mentioned “There should be maximum utilization.” The application of this principle will solve the problem of less production due to non-utilization of all objects of the universe. Woystinsky wrote in his book World Population and Production (New. York, 1953) that the greatest problem is “the insufficient ability of human beings to make full use of the available resources.” He also said, “No one knows when the limit of carrying capacity of the world will be reached.” So in order to solve the problem the entire wealth will have to be utilized, and at the same time, with a view to encouraging human ability, the gates of the human mind will have to be opened. It is human beings who will utilize the wealth with their intellect. There are still many things that are beyond our knowledge as our intellect is not developing so rapidly as it should. There is a wide range of objects on this earth of which we have hardly any specific knowledge and as such we are totally ignorant of their uses. Of the 250.000 kinds of plant species discovered so far only 1% are utilized for human benefit with the remaining 99% lying unutilized. There are millions of living species beyond the knowledge of biologists. Even at the bottom of seas and oceans we now explore food materials. Thus if the developing human intellect and scientific knowledge are applied for increasing the production of material wealth instead of diverting it toward destructive channels, there will be no more difficulty in satisfying human wants.
There are many who argue that the maximum limit of the increase in the human population in view of the available economic resources of a country should be fixed. Obviously, they are the believers in the Optimum Theory of Population.2 They maintain that population growth may be supported to a certain limit beyond which it cannot be supported. PROUT contends that this imagined limit is illusory as everything in this universe keep changing; every minute, every second is changeable so what is optimum today in the economic sphere will certainly change tomorrow.
With the passage of time newer and still newer discoveries are made, mysteries of nature and the world are being unveiled every day. In the field of production the limit of maximum quantity today may not remain the same tomorrow. The country which is most afflicted by the problems of overpopulation may well be the victim of under-population. In his book Social Framework3 J.R. Hicks writes about England: “Declining population may actually involve us in greater difficulties on the side of the production that would arise from further increase.” It is a fact that the growth of population is necessarily a detriment or hindrance to economic prosperity or its corollary, the high standard of life of a country.
Now we shall devote ourselves to the explanations of the terms utilization, mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities.
The term utilization owes its origin to the word utility. In economics utility means the capacity of a commodity to satisfy human wants. We quench our thirst by water. The capacity of water to quench thirst is its utility. Similarly, everything of this universe has got some utility. Again one single object may have utility in more than one way. We drink water, for instance, we produce electricity out of it, utilize it for irrigation purposes and can turn it expedient to navigation purposes. Thus the term utilization connotes, the objects having utility should be made fit for human use and consumption.
According to the second principle of PROUT there should be maximum utilization of every object of the universe. Through maximum utilization it would be easier to solve many a problem of the system of production, especially to satisfy some of the human wants. We believe that there would have been no problems if the limited wealth were accompanied by limited human wants or unlimited wealth accompanied by unlimited human wants. But the problem gets complicated when people try to satiate their infinite wants by finite resources. In such a situation non-utilization of any object will inevitably aggravate the problem. While the solution of economic problems is imperative the non-utilization and misutilization of physical wealth are equally criminal. There should be proper and maximum utilization of every object in the interest of humanity.
In order to fulfill this objective various methods can be adopted. First, by bringing about change in form. An object for its better use may be transformed into another shape or form. For instance, forest wood will be better utilized if it is converted into furniture. Secondly, change in position. An object which is not properly utilized at one particular place should be transferred to another place where there is possibility of its maximum utilization. Coal, for instance, is less utilized in coal fields than in factories and other industrial concerns where it has got its maximum utilization. Thirdly, a particular object may not be utilized at a particular time. Instead of destroying it, efforts should be made to preserve it for its proper use in future. Fourthly, in capitalist economy individuals keep so much wealth under their possession that they cannot utilize it properly, rather they misuse it. According to the law of maximum utilization there should be change in ownership and the “havenots” should be provided with adequate resources for the good of individual self as well as that of society. Knowledge has great value for various utilizations. The utility of knowledge implies that the discovery of new technology should be propagated among people in general. For instance, people who are completely ignorant of the use of tractor will continue to hold on to the use of backdated agricultural equipments. That is why for ensuring maximum utilization knowledge of various researches and experiments should be disseminated among people of all sections.
Besides the above methods there is a host of other methods by which maximum utilization of all things can be ensured.
Mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities
Not only physical wealth but other subtle types of wealth have got to be put to maximum use.
Since human longing is trifarious – physical, mental and spiritual – human beings cannot be satisfied with the plethora of physical objects. They must acquire subtler wealth as well. They want not only physical food but yearns for mental peace also. Here is the difference between human beings and animals. Hence in the second principle of PROUT, three kinds of wealth have been mentioned. Mundane potentiality stands for all the created beings. Ether, air, fire, liquid and solid – which constitute the material world – will have to be utilized to the maximum. According to Ananda Sutram: “The development of the resources, hidden in the five fundamental elements – solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal shall be accomplished only through the media of cent per cent honest use and efforts.” Human beings will have to find out their requisite materials from land, water and space.
Supramundane denotes all things which are above mundane. The mind, which is beyond the world of five rudimentary factors, containing various kinds of wealth at its different strata, is chiefly instrumental for ensuring the utilization of the physical world. It is the human mind that has discovered the law of gravitation, theory of relativity, planes, rockets and so on and so forth. In the vast realm of human mind so much wealth lies hidden and all that has to be utilized for promoting the welfare of mankind. Modern psychology has discovered the phenomenon of telepathy, opening the clairvoyance, precognition, etc. by opening the door of the vast psychic mind. These all belong to the subliminal stratum of human mind.
Parapsychologists have proved that most people are inherently endowed with these faculties even from birth. The general run of students of Duke University4 on tests have been found to possess these powers one in every five. But in absence of proper culture these powers would fade away. In the interest of humanity these powers should be cultivated and developed. In fact, human beings have inherited them all from Cosmic Intelligence, as human mind itself is just a stage in the evolutionary march of Cosmic Mind toward Supreme Consciousness, from the stage of its maximum crudification. The degree of one’s intellect and intelligence is dependent directly upon that of density of Cosmic Intelligence reflected on the human mental plate. Spiritual potentiality implies Cosmic Vibrations. The spiritual waves permeating the whole universe will have to be utilized for satisfying the spiritual longing of human beings and the scientific spiritual practices are to be resorted to for converting gross human personality into a subtler one.
The problems of under-production being solved by the proper utilization of wealth, do not necessarily lead to economic prosperity of a country. Side by side there should be provisions for rational distribution as well. In capitalist economy importance is attached to the system of automatic distribution. Capitalists believe it is the duty of the producer to continue the rate of production keeping in view the demand of the market and those who are in need of those commodities will purchase them. Thus distribution of wealth, they argue, should not be made a problem.
But the dangers of a system of automatic distribution are clearly reflected in capitalist economies. As a matter of fact the demand that has been referred to in “automatic distribution” is in the language of economics the effective demand which is backed by purchasing capacity. Hence only those who have enough purchasing capacity can afford to purchase from the market. Those deprived of purchasing capacity cannot afford to purchase anything in spite of their hundreds of wants. This inevitably gives rise to disparity in society. The lack of sufficient opportunities and facilities in individual life accounts for this disparity. Unequal opportunities bring disparity in income which again in its turn causes unequal opportunities. And human beings are caught in the vortex of this vicious circle. As a consequence the poor become poorer in capitalist systems while the rich enjoy better facilities and therefore earn more. The effective demand comes from this group and whatever the producers supply in the market are all for the rich community. For this reason the production of luxury goods surpasses the supply of consumer goods and society and the world suffer chronic food crisis. Governments, in order to cope with the situation, introduce statutory ration systems but as supply does not rise substantially the countries never come out of the economic mess. Hence such a system of distribution cannot be supported.
There are many who favor the adoption of a reverse process to find a way out. They advocate a system of equal distribution. It is not difficult to understand that this theory is just the byproduct of a reactionary sentiment against capitalism. As a matter of fact equality could not be established in any country or period. “Diversity is the law of nature and no two objects are identical.”5 Even under communism the income drawn by intellectuals, technicians and aristocrats were much more than that of the toiling masses. The Russian government was forced to concede this as it is but natural.6 If everybody is indiscriminately afforded equal economic benefits the problem of incentive is bound to arise. That is why when all the people of Russia were to be squeezed into one economic standard, a grave famine occurred as an inevitable consequent of that effort. To save Russia from that crisis Lenin had to adopt his New Economic (NEP). He pleaded, “One step backward means two steps forward in future.” But the two steps forward never occurred, rather communism continued to retrace it steps into complete economic and industrial standstill, and ecological and systemic collapse. Marx had written: “From each according to ability to each according to needs.” But this principle only created numerous difficulties of which the first is as to how these needs shall be assessed. We know that human wants are mostly subjective and as such they are highly difficult to determine in an objective way. In particular, the distribution of those essential commodities that are only in limited supply may not in all cases be very proper. If everybody wants a car, will it be possible to supply each and every person at a time? If not, then how can the distribution be according to needs. Nor is there any guarantee that people will work according to their ability. It is highly probable that they will not work very sincerely when all their wants are being fulfilled and they cannot earn more than the fixed limit. Hence the system of distribution will cause decline in production and consequently the total consumption will gradually get reduced. Instead of yielding any benefit it will rather aggravate the problem leading the entire economy toward a catastrophe. This induced Lenin to criticize this principle as a “useless slogan”. Staling changed this principle by substituting “need” with “work”. Even then it does not serve any useful purpose. M.N. Roy7 remarked: “Both those dicta justify inequality and unequal distribution of wealth in a new social order, because there is no fair method of evaluation work. The judgement is left with those in power and it is known what has been the consequences.”
PROUT introduces a new system of distribution. According to PROUT there should be rational distribution of the trifarious potentialities (physical, mental and spiritual). Distribution of a commodity or commodities should be on a rational basis, i.e. according to rational necessity, keeping in view that the commodity thus provided must be of maximum use for the person and persons who keep it for their personal or social use.
There is bound to be a minimum limit to consumers’ goods in every economic structure. Supply below that limit brings great hardship to people. All over the world today the visibility of the poor and uncared for unmistakably point to the grim fact that people are deprived of even the minimum standard of life. The term minimum standard signifies provision of five essential necessities: food, cloths, housing, medical aid and education.
“The minimum necessities of life should be made available to everybody. In other words, food, cloth, medical treatment, homes and education, etc. must be provided for all”8 These minimum necessities should be fulfilled by creating one’s purchasing capacity. It is more rational to create the purchasing capacity of individuals so that they may obtain what they need in life. But it should never be forgotten that the minimum necessities of life will not remain the same for all time to come. With changes in age it will undergo changes.
That is why PROUT asserts: “The minimum necessities of human beings changes with the change in ages … the minimum necessity must be provided for everyone according to the age one lives in. In one age a bicycle may be the minimum need for conveyance and in the next age it may turn anachronistic while everyone fly about in planes. It is the duty of the government to enhance the minimum standard gradually. Efforts for raising the minimum standard should go on unabated and on this endeavor shall depend the all round worldly prosperity and development of human beings.”9
It is not true that mere provisions for the minimum essentials for individuals will make this distribution system rational. It, too, may not be wholly free from possibilities of incentive problems. It is the mode of distribution of the total wealth among the members of a joint family that commands itself to be an ideal example of a rational system of distribution. “When the whole property of this Universe has been inherited by all creatures, how can there be any justification for a system in which someone gets a flow of huge excess, while others die for a handful of grains? Every member of a joint family is provided with the necessary food, cloth, education, medical and other amenities according to the economic resources of the entire family family”.10
Exactly in the same manner the entire wealth of society has to be distributed among ourselves. The surplus after meeting the barest necessities will have to be distributed among people of special merits according to the degrees thereof.
The head of the family will distribute the properties among his or her children according to their needs and it is in this process that he or she will apportion more amenities to the child engaged in more brain work than others. If, however, any member of the family happens to take possession of grains, cloths, books or medicines more than what he or she actually requires, in such circumstances will not his or her act be considered anti-social and immoral? In order to accumulate more and more in their houses they force others to starvation, to impress the glamor of their garments they compel others to put on rags, and to enrich their capabilities they suck the life force of others. They can certainly not be regarded as social creatures. Hence, in the considered opinion of PROUT neither all persons can be placed on the same footing nor can a few be allowed to grab the rightful share of others. Tagore said: “If there were no one below, how could there be anyone above, and it is necessary to be there above. If there is nobody at the top, it is impossible to see anything beyond one’s immediate ken. But to think that it is inevitable that the progress of civilization should be maintained only by keeping down the bulk of humanity and denying it its human right is a reproach to the human mind.”
Every individual must be provided with minimum necessities against their purchasing capacity and at the same time with a view to providing incentives scholars and experts should be granted special amenities. This will eliminate the chances of their being idle. On the contrary it will create a healthy spirit of emulation for becoming efficient physicians, experts, engineers and technicians thereby acquiring more and more capability and efficiency.
PROUT emphatically assures this opportunity for one and all; moreover it will always create a favorable climate for encouragement and inspiration. One thing has to be borne in mind that before granting special amenities to a few, proper arrangements for minimum necessities of life for the masses should get precedence. But here a pertinent question may arise that the granting of special amenities may tend to create differences between human beings. But PROUT in this also will devise certain safeguards, as for instance the gulf between special amenities and minimum necessities should be gradually reduced to the minimum. In this process the minimum requirements on one side should be gradually raised and the rate of special amenities should be proportionally reduced on the other. A cycle for instance if provided as the minimum necessity, would see scientists and other intellectuals provided with cars. This gap even reduced to the minimum can never be nil. The moment the gap is going to be bridged altogether, then and there a gap is to be created afresh by giving special amenities to experts and specialists and this will endlessly follow.
The same method of rational distribution has got to be applied in the subtle and causal spheres as well. Though each and every human being is endowed with infinite spiritual potentialities, nevertheless everyone cannot manifest their entire potentialities all in the same degree and at the same time. Hence they should be made to possess the maximum wealth of subtle and spiritual. worlds that is within their reach. This task can be accomplished by those who have the wisdom to understand the subtle spiritual requirements of their fellow beings. Thus human beings have to utilize and distribute the mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities of the entire universe for eternity.
From the booklet PROUT, What It Stands For
1 Engels and Marx argued that what Malthus saw as the problem of the pressure of population on the means of production actually represented the pressure of the means of production on population.
2 The OTP suggests a theoretically perfect situation where the population of an area can develop its resources to the greatest extent, and achieve maximum output while enjoying the highest possible standards of living.
3 Clarendon Press, 3rd Edition, Oxford, 1960.
4 In 1930, Duke University (North Caroline, USA) engaged in critical study of extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis in the laboratory. As opposed to the approaches of psychical research, which generally sought qualitative evidence for paranormal phenomena, the experiments at Duke University proffered a quantitative, statistical approach using cards and dice. As a consequence of the ESP experiments at Duke, standard laboratory procedures for the testing of ESP developed and came to be adopted by interested researchers throughout the world. (Source: Wikipedia)
5 Ananda Sutram (1962), Shrii Shrii Anandamurti.
6 Income distribution figures for Soviet Russia in 1959 show that top salary takers in the Soviet Union earned more relative to the average income than the corresponding group in the US, the UK and other Western European countries. (Source: Flemming J., and J. Micklewright, “Income Distribution, Economic Systems and Transition”. Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic and Social Policy Series, No. 70. Florence: UNICEF International Child Development Centre, page 16.)
7 M.N. Roy (1887 – 1954) was an Indian (Bengali) social thinker and associate of Lenin, who denounced Marxism and went on to develop his own “Radical Humanism”.
8 Ananda Sutram, op. cit.
10 P.R. Sarkar in Problems of the Day (1959)
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