Category Archives: Currents

A Natural Human Response

[PROUT Globe, September 2015] – The dilemma that refugees spell out for European authorities is significant in numerous ways:

Firstly, the crisis has become really glaring when its major symptom — refugees escaping serious trouble at home — flooded all over the Internet and throughout the media. The daily images of crowds of refugees entering prosperous Europe by land and sea, have led xenophobic politicians to suggest that the new arrivals should immediately be returned. The fact that European authorities, seventy years after WW2, are not in the mood to accommodate all the refugees, has revealed the deep flaws in the mind-set of the present Western establishment and its economic, social, and political structures.

Secondly, the crisis exposes the fact that our increasingly globalized world is in need of a transnational governmental structure able to effectively intervene and deal competently with civil wars and other national, regional, and inter-continental crimes against humanity. Such crimes include the food crises and other permanent lack of or serious deficiencies in clothing, housing, medical care, education, energy and other basic necessities. The United Nations is a powerless behemoth, incapable of addressing fundamental humanitarian issues on a needs basis, much in the same way as The League of Nations was helpless in its time.

Thirdly, the readiness of ordinary people to stand up and receive refugees in a caring and practical way, indicates their timeless ability to ignore hypocrisy from the authorities when really needed, and to generate large-scale people power. This type of people’s impact has already manifested in wondrous ways in little Iceland where tens of thousands of families have volunteered to take in a refugee family. The same genuinly heartfelt force will certainly assert itself in larger European countries and elsewhere whenever major crises hit seriously there.

The goodwill of the majority of ordinary Europeans in response to the current refuge crisis is a natural human response to everyday human needs. It may also be a forerunner to magnificent responses to the deep-set economic, social, and political crises brewing throughout the present global capitalist world.

Suggested reading: The Necessity and Prerequisites of a World Government

The Makings for a Great Occupy Movement

Update November 2013: Protesters wearing the white-faced Guy Fawkes masks that have become synonymous with the Occupy movement and the hacktivist grouping Anonymous have taken part in hundreds of gatherings around the world in opposition to causes ranging from corruption to fracking. Click to read

(July, 2012) A year ago mid-July the Canadian magazine Adbusters sent a tweet that triggered the Occupy movement. “Flood into lower Manhattan,” it said, “and Occupy Wall Street.” Thousands responded in cities throughout the world and the Occupy movement was soon hailed as the new radical force.

Many say Occupy movements around the world died choking on open, consensus-based decision-making. Daily outdrawn, repetitive, sometimes bizarre democratic seances resulted in little more than numerous unhelpful responses to cooperating with authorities, and resourceful, educated stalwarts vacating the area with very apexed eyebrows. Such slow, tedious processes on the street do not make for immediate revolution.

Yet, practising the right of all to be heard on his or her own terms, however painfully impractical its shape and form, was not the reason for the death of Occupy Wall Street. Its anarchic pseudo-democracy simply filled the vacuum of what the movement should have been.

Rather, the early Occupy succumbed to an infantile disorder characterized by inability to evolve from reacting to corporate greed to formulating the beginnings of coherent alternative economic policy.

A real revolution today would nail its economic priorities right from the start. All-round struggle against capitalist profitmaking and the introduction of economic democracy would be its main features.

The Occupy Wall Street etc. movement obviously is not all about the economy. And the economy is surely not all that life is about. However if such a popular movement goes up against the capitalist system it has to first of all clearly state its economic priorities.  / Trond Øverland

Occupy Wall Street and Future Options

By Prof. Dhanjoo N. Ghista

First published in Gurukula Network, November 2011, Issue 33

occupyThis article is offered in support of the people occupying the financial districts in many cities, to voice their repressed unmet needs and their disillusionment with the corporatized capitalist democratic system. Let us remind ourselves that this land does not belong to corporations and political parties. Rather, in the words of our ancestors in the US, This land is your land, this land is my land, From California to the New York island, From the red wood forest to the gulf stream waters, This land was made for you and me.

The Current crisis of Governance and Economy

Today, we are facing intensive economic crisis, with massive unemployment and the inability of countries to look after the basic living needs (let alone social and economic security) of their citizens. The reason is that we have never had genuine democracy, and instead governance by political parties (supported by capitalist corporations) who have their own agendas which have little to do with public welfare.

It is the obligation of the government to fulfill the basic living needs of the people. These needs include equitable access to education and healthcare. Take the United States, for example. Not everyone has access to healthcare and a means of livelihood; a big percentage of the population has no access to healthcare, because they cannot afford privatized health insurance governmental policy under pressure from these insurance companies.

Not only that, but capitalist political parties also give free rein to capitalism minded institutions (banks, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies) that are solely for profiteering at the expense of the people. Why have banks been allowed to be enterprising, to dupe clients to buy house mortgages that they could not afford, and to also be allowed to gamble with their clients’ savings?

Another aspect of corporate capitalism is to make money at any cost, and this is why so many weapons-making corporations profit by wars, at the expense of the people of the war-torn countries. It is the general opinion that the war crisis has been caused by pressure from these weapons making and distributing corporations.

Now in the US, the big manufacturing corporations have shifted their manufacturing to South-East Asian countries (like China), to take advantage of the cheap labor. Thus, US exports have dwindled. Also, big corporations manage to pay very little income tax, and this is yet another reason for the US being in debt.

How can we expect democracy to provide stable governance and stable economy? Political system and economy are inter-linked, and this is why it is more appropriate to use the term political economy since economy by itself has no basis. So, the current economic crisis is verily a crisis of political economy.

In corporate capitalist economy, the financial elite and the elite corporations constitute a separate class who control the government and their policies, for their own profiteering. They are responsible for all these maneuverings.

When some of these capitalistic financial systems started to fail (due to their corrupt practices) and fold, they had the political clout to be bailed out; their managers could hence continue to have exorbitant salaries and bonuses at the expense of their employees. The actions of the U.S. government and the European Union government in 2009, to bail out the culprit corporations, are testimonies to how the political elite allowed the financial elite to manage the system to its benefit. This created a massive political problem, which was hushed up by the governmental bail-outs in the US and European Union’s nations. This bail-out saved these financial systems from the public opinion that the financial elite had violated all principles of fiduciary, social and moral responsibility in seeking their own personal gain at the expense of society as a whole.

So now in the last year or so, this has created a massive political and social crisis, which is truly a systemic crisis, compared to which the crisis of the financial institutions can be regarded to be trivial. The question now in people’s minds is why was the political system not capable of fixing the crisis and holding the perpetrators responsible for it? Alternatively, if the financial crisis did involve criminality on the part of the elite corporations, how could the political system not have created laws to render such actions criminal?

There is hence now a crisis of confidence in the financial system and a crisis of confidence in the political system, which is why people are protesting around Wall Street, the symbol of the capitalist democratic system.

Solution for the Governance and Economy Crisis

The Occupy Wall Street movement symbolizes the pent up frustration of the people who could no longer endure and sustain the unfair socio-economic-political policies and injustices meted out by the political parties acting in cohorts with their sponsors the capitalist corporations solely interested in profiteering with not an iota of humanism. This ongoing suppression of peoples’ rights to fair living is due to the political parties regimes and the unfair linkages between the political and economic elites. So then what is the solution?

The Official Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street on October 5, 2011

There are two domains of solution: 1. Economic solution, and 2. Political or Governance solution.

Economic Solution based on PROUT

By way of an economic solution, let us enunciate some of the tenets of a new Cooperative Economics model, based on the socio-economic and political philosophy called PROUT (Progressive Utilization Theory), propounded by the sage Prabhat R. Sarkar (Refs 1, 2 and 3).

  1. The first tenet is the common patrimony of the natural resources of this planet. This, for instance, means that private companies should not be allowed to patent plants with medicinal value.
  2. The second tenet is that the minimal necessities of living need to be guaranteed through 100% employment and minimal wage.
  3. The third tenet is that the productivity of commodities needs to be proportional to the demand, so that prices can be kept stable; this will help augment purchasing capacity and standard-of-living.
  4. As a fourth tenet, it is advocated that all businesses be cooperatively structured and managed, so that all employees who contribute to revenue generation also share the profits. In cooperatively managed corporations, everyone is allocated corporations’ shares, and the employees’ contributions in the corporations’ performance are recognized and the profits are shared among them. Hence, properly managed cooperatives need to replace these capitalist corporations, in which (i) the employees have a low status below the managers and the administrative officers, and (ii) only the managers and administrators share the profits and reward themselves by bonuses.
  5. The fifth tenet is that the socio-economic system should have a moral and spiritual base, so as to foster the spirit of collective welfare.

This equitable economic model can be termed as Cooperative (or Collective) Economics, as opposed to Corporate Capitalism (or Free-reigning Market Capitalism), in which: (1) self-interested groups and individuals maximize their own welfare (in a free-market environment) at the expense of the general public; (2) bank agents unscrupulously induce people to buy homes that are above their means for mortgage payments; (3) bank heads resort to enterprise banking by investing in company stocks, while risking the bank clients’ monies; (4) corporation heads have ridiculously disproportionately huge salaries compared to other employees. In fact one of the main causes of today’s economy debacle is this unchecked capital-grabbing by self-interested groups and individuals. It is hence advocated that a PROUT economic system of cooperative economics replace the corporate (or free-market) capitalism system.

Governance Solution based on Economic Democracy

The foremost charter for the governance of a state is (i) how to increase the standard of living of its citizens through its economic system and structure, and (ii) how to enable everyone to participate in the governance system and in the constitution of the policies. Economic and political centralization in the state (in communism) or among the super-rich and capitalist corporations is not conducive to the fulfillment of this governance charter.

In this regard, the Decentralized Economy (of PROUT), coupled with people’s participation in the governance, will provide economic prosperity, social security and fulfilling living to the people. People’s living problems include employment, adequate purchasing capacity, equitable healthcare delivery system, education and social security. If these living problems are solved, then people can also devote themselves to the development of their psychic and spiritual potentialities, which will further contribute to a progressive society.

So then, the principles of Decentralized economy (Ref 1) are: as follows.

  • The first principle is that in a socio-economic unit, the natural and material resources required for industrial development should be controlled by the local people.
  • The second principle is that production should be based on consumption needs, so that the supply meets with the demand. There should not be over production for profiteering purpose, by creating artificial demand through clever advertising.
  • Thirdly, as mentioned earlier in the economic model, both production and distribution should be organized through cooperatively managed corporations.
  • The fourth principle is that there should be emphasis on improving and utilizing the skills and expertise of the local people. Hence, local people should be given the first opportunity for employment in the local economic enterprises.
  • The fifth principle is that development of indigenous industries and business enterprises should be encouraged in the development of the community and region. Hence, locally produced commodities should be primarily used by the community people, to enable them to improve the standards of their agricultural and industrial products. In other words, regionalization should precede globalization
  • The sixth principle is that multi-faceted rural development should be undertaken, so as to enable people of all professions to practice their professions, and have fulfilling employment in their rural communities. Rural development, through agro-industrial and hi-tech industrial development, will prevent urban congestion and unemployment. In this regard, it is recommended that rural universities be set up, with the charter of social transformation and agro-industrial development. In the US, this Go-Rural movement will motivate rural migration of production industries, and turn around the phenomenon of the so-called multi-national corporations taking their production abroad to take advantage of cheaper labor and thereby cause unemployment at home.
  • This decentralized economy constitutes the basis of a model civilian democratic system (to replace the exploitative capitalist corporate pseudo-democratic system), in the form of Economic Democracy, propounded by the sage Prabhat R. Sarkar (Refs 1, 2, 3).

Economic Democracy

In the book Socio-Economic Democracy and World Government (Ref 2), a governance solution is offered, in the form of a neo civilian democratic system (CDPS) based on cooperative economics. The Economic Democracy system (ECDS) implies democracy based on equitable distribution of economic assets through PROUT. This ECDS first of all requires a grass roots mind set and psychology change from ‘capitalism for personal wealth making’ to a more ‘spiritual psychology of collective welfare promotion’. This mind-set change in society needs to be promoted through education, from primary to secondary to tertiary education. Then in such a transformed spiritual society, our Economic Democracy will be (i) based on the above delineated six tenets of PROUT and the six principles of decentralized economy, and (ii) implemented at the grass-roots level, in the what can be termed as functionally sustainable communities (FSCs) , as defined and designed in Refs 2 and 4.

This Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS) would be structured such that the local governments and legislatures would be composed of elected members of the people-centered professional associations, such as the lawyers’association, farmers’ association, doctors’ association, teachers’ association. These associations would elect their most socially oriented competent members to serve on the legislature and government, thereby ensuring that the government policies address people’s needs and welfare. These associations should verily represent the people and their needs, and the most competent members of these associations would serve on the government, thereby ensuring people’s welfare based policies. Thus this Civilian Democratic Political system would not need and involve political parties, and would represent people’s (or civilian) democracy. We will thereby have democracy sans political parties.

This Economic Democratic governance system and its Cooperative Economic system (PROUT) need to be first established at the grassroots level, in the form of sustainable communities with the theme of all for one and one for all. So then, what constitutes a sustainable community?

Functionally Sustainable Communities

A functionally sustainable community (FSC) is defined to comprise of several cities with a large rural hinterland, together providing economic sustainability to the community. In the developing and emerging countries, sustainable development for cities and towns would be concerned with developing adequate standards of living, based on the provision of community services and environmental quality, maintenance of trade linkages with their rural hinterland, and measures of social justice. On the other hand, sustainable development in the rural hinterland would have to deal with the means of generating revenue (by supplying their produces to the cities and other neighboring FSCs), so as to support their community services (such as healthcare, public transport, education, water supply, sanitation, electrical power) and sustain small businesses (Ref 4).

In rural areas, there also needs to be professional opportunities and adequate level of education to service industries, so as to avoid migration to cities. The problems that FSC(s) need to address are: (i) Economic: financial capacity to afford community services, low affordability to pay for community services because of poverty, and encouragement to the private sector by way of facilitating their operations (export and import, etc); (ii) Social: growth of slums in cities because of rural-to-urban migration, poor public transport, provision of safe drinking water, low level of entertainment facilities (like parks) to enhance the quality-of-life, and exploitation of migrant labor from rural areas.

The solutions for these urban-rural compounding problems are: (i) determination of appropriate size of FSC(s), such that there is adequate rural hinterland size to cater to the needs of cities and thereby gather revenue for their own sustainability; (ii) adroit distribution of population in the rural areas, comprising of the revenue generating sector (about 40%), community service sector (about 40%), and small business and financial (cooperative banking) sector (about 20%), such that the revenue brought into the rural townships by the revenue-generating sector is adequate to afford community services and sustain the small-business sector; (iii) adequate industrial development and a competent services sector in cities, so as to provide adequate community services and quality-of-life to the city dwellers; (iv) civilian economic democracy, such that community sectors’ representatives in the Legislature have responsibility to cater to the needs of their respective sectors.

This civilian Economic Democratic system along with the PROUT Cooperative Economic system. will provide to the people socio-economic security and a fulfilling life, which they have not known before. This conjoint Civilian Socio-Economic-Political Democratic System can, in years to come, become adopted by nations, to replace the present-day Political Party Democracy or Corporate Democracy.

As we part company, we would indeed be echoing the benevolence of the supreme neohumanist Prabhat R. Sarkar, that everyone live in harmony and peace; everyone can have unbarred opportunity for all-round development and for contributing to mutual welfare. No one be neglected and threatened, be left starving and without shelter, be left ill and uncared-for, be tormented and made dysfunctional. All can move together in unison, to the pinnacle of human existence and cosmic desideratum. This article is dedicated to usher in such a neo-humanistic global order and era!

References:

1. Sarkar, P.R. (1992). Proutist Economics: Discourses on Economic Liberation. Ananda Marga Publications, Tiljala, Calcutta 700039, India.
2. Ghista, D.N. (2004). Socio-economic Democracy and the World Government: Collective Capitalism, Depovertisation, Human Rights, Template for Sustainable Peace. World Scientific Publishing Co, Singapore 596224.
3. Dhanjoo N. Ghista (2011), Civilian Democratic Political-Economic System, for Liberated Countries with all systems of Government, Gurukula Network, Issue 32, May 2011.
4. Ghista, D.N and Sanyal, S (2007), Sustainable Development of Developing countries: A Holistic Socio-Economic-Political Approach, Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Vol 3 (1).

Copyright The author 2012 [anti-both]  Articles by the author on PROUT Globe

Why Occupy?

David D Blessing
(Address to the Occupy Denver, Colorado, USA movement, October 2011) – Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns. I like many of the people here gathered, am outraged by events of recent history involving the influence of private vested corporate interests over government policy. I feel sickened, ripped off, and abused. I am not so naïve as to believe that any politician can correct the problems at hand. I do not imagine that those who most profit from the situation as it is, their agents or employees will do anything more than make pseudo-reforms by rearranging or temporarily mitigating the problem. The vampire will never pull its own teeth out. It will merely change its coat.

The solution that I seek can only come from an awakened population that collectively abandons the old greedy, competitive, oppressive system to embrace a new style of collective civil management. The following list is what I believe must be done in Colorado to correct the disparities at the root of the problem:

1. Compel a change to state and federal law, so that foreclosure shall be prohibited in any and all cases where a foreclosing bank is unable to produce the original, complete, unaltered evidence of debt in court at the time of foreclosure; and prohibit foreclosure where the source of funding for the “loan” was the “borrowers” own note.
2. Compel a change to state and federal law so that usery, interest on debt, be limited to 8% per annum.
3. Create a publicly owned state bank that will provide loans to state citizens, and that will impose only sufficient fees and interest as will cover the cost of running such bank.
4. Create a state healthcare cooperative such as envisioned by Healthcare-for-All-Colorado Senate Bill 168-2011. www.HealthcareforAllColorado.org
5. End the disastrously failed war on drugs, a war which benefits only those who profit from it. Prohibition did not work in the 1930s as it is not working now.
6. Prohibit the United States of America federal Corporation from imposing or enforcing such federal laws as may be contrary to the laws of our state.
7. Review all criminal convictions for possession of personal-use marijuana (less than 1 ounce) and nearly such individuals from prison for time served.
8. Reduce all criminal convictions for possession of personal-use marijuana to misdemeanor status.
9. Prisons-for-Profit have made our criminal justice system disastrously biased and unfair. Return management of all prisons to the public sector.
10. Fund and improve our public school system as necessary to give our students sufficient vision, hope and education such that they will no longer seek solace on the cushion of drugs.
11. Create state and federal legislative acts under which the respective governmental bodies will enter into no new contracts, nor renew any existing contract with any person or entity that directly or indirectly profits from war.
12. Create amendments to state and federal constitutions under which those who accept any title of nobility from any foreign monarchy, state, or nation shall be prohibited from holding any public office.
13. Create state and federal legislative acts that will prohibit the respective governmental body from the participation in any new contract, or the renewal of any existing contract with any company or corporation that pays its highest-paid employee or sub-contractor more than 10 times the rate of pay of the lowest paid employee or sub-contractor.
14. Immediately withdraw United States troops from all offensive foreign military occupations.
15. Create an American foreign policy that offers education for the benefit of the people at home and abroad, rather than military aggression for the benefit of corporate profits.
16. As studies and practical experience show that human populations naturally decrease where education increases, global population reduction can be best achieved by increasing education standards in areas most affected by overpopulation.
17. Create state and federal regulations that will break and prohibit the monopolization of the broadcast and print media.
18. Create sufficient legislation that will limit the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the greedy who currently wield sufficient economic power to bribe extort or murder our political leaders with impunity; who monopolize the print and broadcast media, and who limit and control the information disseminated by such media.
19. We have the resources to guarantee the basic necessities of food clothing and shelter to all inhabitants of our country.
20. As there appears to be no credible peer reviewed scientific study that demonstrates that fluoride has any benefit for the teeth; and there are many studies including studies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that clearly show that fluoride is detrimental to human health, including causation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, fluoride must be removed from all water supplies.
21. In order to reduce pollution and reduce the general stress on our planetary ecosystem the people of America must also act upon their own personal initiative to:

  • Maximize the use of all resources including but not limited to participation in the recycling of all resources that can be recycled.
  • Curtail the superiority complex and end the personal desire to take advantage of others through predatory competition.
  • Work together with friends and business associates to create cooperative businesses collectively owned by yourselves.

Copyright The author 2011

Our Occupy Wall Street! Leaflet

(October 5, 2011) – We received a request from Occupy Wall Street! Proutist protesters to chip in a leaflet for today’s march. Here’s the text we suggested (download the leaflet here):

Capitalism + Political Democracy = Slavery

Cap the freedom to accumulate wealth! The Earth and its citizens can no longer sustain capitalism.

Economic Democracy = Welfare and Progress

Sufficient purchasing power and employment for all must be guaranteed! There is enough for everyone’s need but not for even one person’s unbridled greed.

Yes to a Fair Consumption Economy!

ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY ensures:

  • Local economic planning
  • Cooperatively managed businesses
  • Local governmental control of natural resources and key industries
  • Socially agreed upon limits on the individual accumulation of wealth

Basic Necessities for All!

Decentralize the economy and leave decision-making in the hands of local people! Together we can ensure the adequate availability of food, shelter, clothing, health care and education for all.

Sustain the Good, Discontinue the Bad

We are all directly dependent upon the Earth for our survival and well-being. A decentralized economy can better ensure that the ecological systems of the earth are not exploited beyond their capacity to renew themselves.

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