Q. What are the basic principles of the PROUT economy?
The minimum essentials of life must be provided to each individual according to the standards of the time, by providing a minimum of purchasing power through employment. The surplus after meeting the minimum necessities will have to be distributed among those of special merit according to the degree of merit.
Efforts for raising the minimum standard should go on unabated and the all-round worldly prosperity and development of human beings will depend on this endeavour.
Q. What does PROUT mean by the minimum essentials of life and how will it vary with the age?
The minimum essentials imply the provision of food, clothing, housing, medical treatment and education to the extent that they are essential. Denial of any of these will not only adversely affect the physical existence of human beings. It will also hamper their progress in the psychic and spiritual spheres, which is an inherent right of every individual.
PROUT promotes the paradigm that Supreme Consciousness is our father, the operative principle (the force of creation) is our mother, and the three worlds – the physical, the mental and the spiritual – constitute our home. As such every object of the universe is our common patrimony. The denial of essential commodities to any individual means that society is acting against basic human rights and the fundamental principle of human society.
Scientific, technological and similar other achievements tend to cause a significant change in the distribution of wealth in human society. Qualitative and significant change in the economic sphere will bring a corresponding change in the quantity of minimum essentials. The emergence of the new age can be gradual as well as abrupt. Suppose scientific achievements enable the discovery of abundant minerals and metals or other natural wealth that human beings can make use of. Such a sudden windfall would bring about abrupt change in economic advancement, which would be reflected in the quantum of minimum essentials. As for transportation, the minimum necessity may be a bicycle in one age and in the next it may be a faster vehicle.
Q. Why should individuals of special merit be provided with additional rewards?
“From each according to their ability to each according to their needs”1 may sound nice but will reap no harvest in the hard soil of the practical world. This socialist dogma was practically shattered on the hard rock of reality. Moreover the provision of special amenities in appreciation of one’s special merits has proved its efficiency even in socialist countries providing a natural impetus to work and be efficient.
Moreover, certain services require particular facilities and equipment in order to function at an optimum. Take the case of a social worker who by dint of his or her ability, reputation and sense of service has greater reach and is frequently called upon to attend clients at their houses. A car will definitely provide such an approved of asset to society with better opportunity of service.
Q. Will the provision of special rewards not lead to capitalistic accumulation and thereby to economic exploitation?
This will not happen if all the three principles mentioned above are strictly and concurrently applied. These three principles should be so rationally integrated in the carrying out of economic policy that the difference between the average rewards meted out to persons of special merit and the rewards paid to acquire minimum essentials will go on decreasing but it will never be zero. For instance, with a change in the economic era or with the advancement in the price index planners are to decide on an increase in the quantum of special amenities and that of the minimum essentials. This particular development will be determined in a manner so that the proportional increase in special rewards is always less than that made in the minimum necessities. Thus the difference will go on progressively decreasing and will not lead to capitalistic accumulation or exploitation.
Q. How will minimum essentials and special rewards be provided?
The economic structure, i.e. the system of production and distribution, wage policy, percentage of profit, and price setting will be arranged in a manner so that the persons concerned earn requisite purchasing capacity for their minimum essentials or special emolument as the case may be.
Actually, in a Proutistic setup medical aid and education will be free and every individual will have access to a house according to their functional status or requirement. Food and clothing will therefore be the main aspects towards which requisite purchasing capacity will be provided against work and contribution to the socioeconomic system.
1 A slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. The phrase summarizes the principles that, under a communist system, every person should contribute to society to the best of his or her ability and consume from society in proportion to his or her needs, regardless of how much he or she has contributed. (Source: Wikipedia)
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