1st Socioeconomic (and 8th Social) Principle of PROUT

Diversity is the law of nature and uniformity will never be.

Variety is the chief characteristic (dharma) of the Cosmic Force of creation (prakrti). No two objects in the universe are identical, nor are two bodies, two minds, two atoms or two molecules. This variety is the force of creation’s forte. Those who want to equate everything must fail, for this is unnatural. All objects are equal only in the unmanifest or potential state of the force of creation, and so those who think of equating everything invariably think of the destruction of everything.

Ananda Sutram (1962)

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

Diversity and Common Good

The first of PROUT’s four socio-economic principles (numbers eight to eleven of the total 16 principles of PROUT) state: “Diversity is the law of nature and sameness will never be.” That is, absolute equality is not possible in an ever-changing world. So although social equality is the key to an expansive and humanistic ideology, and although world federation with a common constitutional structure is a political necessity, diversity must also be recognized and utilized for the collective good.

Economically, diversity is a necessary consideration in the sound policy of both developed and less developed countries. The precarious existence of subsistence peasants must be stabilized, and the living standards raised through diversification – diverse production and production for both consumption and trade. Similarly, the precarious existence of totally trade-dependent economies in both developed and less developed countries must be established by diversification into self-sufficient production. Orthodox economic theory proposes the maximization of specialization and trade, so as to raise total output. However, regional sufficiency must augment trade for:

a) strategic purposes, so that production of necessities is maintained in the case of disruption to communications or transport, or in case of war;

b) fullest resource utilization, which is impossible in a totally specialized economy, where only the most ‘efficient’ resources of a particular area are exploited – mass employment is the best evidence of this; and

c) economic democracy, where communities retain productive control of as much as possible for their basic necessities and so retain control of their lives and help prevent exploitation.

Another economic implication of this recognition of diversity is the question of incentives and income differentials. While no great gap between upper and lower incomes can be tolerated in any society based on equality, some gap must be provided for the maintenance of a certain level of material incentives and thus higher labour productivity. This issue, and the practical harnessing of diversity to serve collective interest, is taken up in the third and fourth principles of this set of four.

From New Aspects of PROUT, by Gary Coyle, Proutist Universal Publications, Denmark 1987

Copyright The author 2011

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