2nd Socioeconomic (and 9th Social) Principle of PROUT

The minimum necessities of all should be guaranteed in any particular age.

The Cosmic Entity is my father, the Cosmic Force of Creation is my mother and the three worlds are my homeland. So every thing or object of this universe is the common property of all humanity. Nothing in the universe is cent per cent equal in both quality and quantity; therefore the minimum necessities of life should be made available to everybody. In other words, food, clothing, medical treatment, accommodation, education and so on must be provided to all. Humanity’s minimum necessities however, change with the change in eras or ages. For example for conveyance the minimum necessity may be a bicycle in one age and then an airplane in another age. The minimum necessities must be provided for all people according to the age in which they live.

Ananda Sutram (1962)

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

Income or purchasing capacity?

Question: What do we want, increase in per capita income or increase in purchasing capacity?

Answer: PROUT suggests that increases in per capita income are not a sufficiently reliable and scientific index to determine the standard and progress of a particular unit. Rather, this approach is misleading and deceitful, because it refers to a simple mathematical calculation of total national income divided by total population. This does not give the correct picture of the standard of living of the people of a particular unit, as the wealth disparity in society is concealed. Per capita income shows the mean and not the variation of income distribution. If inflation is also considered, the reliability of per capita income is further reduced. On the other hand, purchasing capacity is the real index of how a person’s economic needs can be met by their income. All PROUT’s plans and programs in the sphere should be aimed at increasing the purchasing capacity of the people.

Note that PROUT stresses increasing purchasing capacity and not per capita income. Per capita income is not a proper indication of the increase in the standard of living of the people because while people may have very high incomes they may not be able to purchase the necessities of life. On the other hand if the per capita income is low but people have great purchasing capacity they are much better off. So purchasing capacity and not per capita income is the true measure of economic prosperity. Everyone’s requirements should be within their pecuniary periphery or purchasing capacity.

10 December 1987, Calcutta
From “Questions and answers”, PROUT In a Nutshell 12

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011

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