Using the Fundamental Principles to Evaluate Social Policies

By Dada Maheshvarananda

The Five Fundamental Principles of PROUT are a useful tool for activists and policy makers to analyze and compare policies according to how well they benefit people and the planet as a whole. Some questions to consider for each policy:

  • Does it help to meet the minimum necessities of everyone: food, clothing, housing, education and health care?
  • Does it help to provide jobs with adequate wages?
  • Does it promote the maximum utilization of resources for the welfare of all?
  • Does it protect and benefit animals, plants and the environment?
  • Does it promote both individual expressions of people and their collective welfare, so that no person or group is exploiting another?
  • Does it help strengthen the local economy of the community?
  • Does it protect human rights and freedoms?
  • Does it empower people and communities?
  • Does it prevent the personal accumulation of wealth by any individual without the collective approval of society?
  • Does it allow people to develop mentally and spiritually?
  • Is it flexible enough to change as needs change?

Because PROUT’s framework is so all-inclusive, many disciplines can and should be used to consider the implications of each policy, including economics, public health, environmental sciences, political science, sociology, administration and law.

For example, to determine if everyone’s minimum necessities are being met, social workers and non-governmental organizations need to study indicators of housing, education and health. Ecologists need to monitor air, water, soil, the forests and wildlife; their policy proposals need to be heard and implemented. Economists and cooperative consultants need to study how to create enough jobs that provide goods and services needed by the community. They also need to study the pricing of essential goods and whether or not a person receiving a minimum wage could afford them. Sociologists and psychologists need to explore issues of class, gender, race, age and education.

Excerpted from After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action by Dada Maheshvarananda (Puerto Rico: Innerworld Publications, 2012): www.aftercapitalism.org

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