What is PROUT?
PROUT is the Progressive Utilization Theory. It is the first socio-economic theory that takes into account the entire human potential, including the mental and spiritual, while advising a socio-economic path for the benefit of both the individual and society.
Who formulated PROUT?
Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar (1922-1990) propounded the fundamentals of PROUT in 1959, and continued to develop the theory throughout his life.
What are the salient points of PROUT?
Based on spiritual values of life PROUT aims to tackle socio-economic challenges through progressive maximum utilization and rational distribution of all types of individual and collective resources. The theory advocates economic democracy based on cooperatives and local planning eventually supported by a democratic world government as the cure for today’s economic and political ills. In order to achieve complete global integration, PROUT deems it necessary to establish self-reliant economic zones defined by common cultural and economic factors in order to develop the indigenous strength of the various societies and peoples.
What are the fundamental principles of PROUT?
PROUT is a complete socio-economic theory, comprising all potentials and resources of life – physical, mental, metaphysical, supramental and spiritual. Its five fundamental principles and other proutistic concepts are presented on this website.
The 1st fundamental principle of PROUT advocates limited accumulation of physical wealth, why?
Physical wealth is in limited supply whereas human urge is unlimited. It is therefore necessary to limit individual physical accumulation and instead stimulate mental and spiritual individual and collective growth.
What is meant by “maximum utilization”?
According to Sarkar:
“Where there is over-accumulation of physical wealth several problems occur. Human beings do not have many needs. Primarily they need satisfying meals and clothing, according to their necessities. Most people do not even want many things. The desire to accumulate money is actually a mental disease. The accumulators do not accumulate to fulfil their basic needs as human needs are few. For instance, if a person has a mango-grove that yields 500 mangoes and a family of five, what will he do with so many mangoes? In cases of over-accumulation there is very little chance of utilization.” (A Few Problems Solved 6 and other compendia)
What is meant by “rational distribution”?
No one is equal whereas all desire to progress in life. Resources are distributed rationally when all can progress at a maximum. Apart from meeting the indispensable minimum necessities of all, the necessities of meritorious people and those with special requirements must also be met. By introducing the concept of rational distribution, PROUT bridges an important gap of economic theory, namely the abyss between the individual and the collective. Traditional socialism means the rule of collectivist economics where individual initiative was never at a premium. On the other hand, the unbridled economic freedom of capitalism has led to the accumulation of colossal riches in the hands of a few at the cost of the lives and reasonable living standard of the great majority. PROUT’s rational distribution ensures the minimum purchasing capacity of all, by introducing labour for all, while the surplus is to be distributed according to merit.
What is the PROUT view towards the concept of equal distribution?
The concept of equal distribution is a utopian idea. It is simply a clever slogan to hoodwink the common people. PROUT rejects this concept and advocates maximum utilization and rational distribution of resources. Doing this provides incentives for increasing production.
What is the difference between the 2nd and 3rd fundamental principles of PROUT?
The 2nd principle says that wealth throughout the universe should be utilized at a maximum and distributed rationally to ensure maximum progress. The 3rd principle says that the physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentials of the individual and the collective must be utilized at a maximum in order for both the individual and the collective to progress at a maximum. Metaphysical potentials are those psychic faculties and capabilities that govern the physical, such as engineering, political science, etc. They are not of psycho-spiritual nature but pertain to the physical. So the 2nd principle says that all collective wealth must be taken well care of, while the 3rd principle says that all individual potentials as well as the collective form of those potentials must be harnessed properly for the good of all.
What is meant by “proper adjustment” in the 4th fundamental principle?
Here “proper” indicates progressive. According to PROUT’s law of adjustment one should utilize mostly that potential which is most subtle in a person, and only secondarily the less subtle one. The utilization of subtler and more rare potentials should always be preferred.
Does this mean that someone who is relatively less developed will remain that way; he or she should be utilized stereotypically?
No. Under communism there was no scope to develop as Marxism dictated that matter was life’s beginning and end. This defective philosophy became the direct cause of thorough brutal de-humanization in communist countries. Under PROUT there will be no standstill neither in individual nor collective life, there will only be accelerated progress. As already mentioned, according to the 3rd fundamental principle of PROUT there should be maximum utilization of the physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentialities of the unit and collective bodies of human society. It means that all the potential that is already unearthed in a person should be utilized immediately while still unrealized potential must be harnessed.
What is meant by the utilization should be of “a progressive nature”?
What is normal today is not so tomorrow and vice versa; what is viewed as abnormal today may be the norm of tomorrow. Guided by progressive ideas human beings should not be guided by superstition, disbelief or dogma, but should continue to look for ever new and fresh ways of utilizing all sorts of potential for the good and happiness of all.
What does the 5th fundamental principle imply by “proper adjustment” of “progressive utilizations”?
Change is the law of creation. For human beings history marches on and it will not help anyone to try to cling to the past. According to the 5th fundamental principle the various progressive utilizations should be properly adjusted with each other. PROUT acknowledges that changes in technology, the natural environment, culture and even human biology will be constant. There is no scope for stagnancy or dogma in PROUT.
Why has PROUT been defined as progressive socialism?
The social spirit of PROUT is to move together. PROUT has therefore been defined as progressive socialism. This progressive socialism is not based on collective ownership of means of production or state dictatorship. It is based on collective mobility and may also be termed as unity in diversity.