FAQ: Economic democracy

What is PROUT’s concept of economic democracy?
Sarkar writes:

“In all countries where democracy is in vogue today, people have been deceived into believing that there is no better system than political democracy. Political democracy has no doubt granted voting rights, but it has snatched away the right of economic equality. Consequently, there is gross economic disparity between the rich and the poor, immense inequality in people’s purchasing capacity, unemployment, chronic food shortages, poverty and insecurity in society. The type of democracy prevalent in India is also political democracy, and it has proved to be a unique system of exploitation.”

What are the basic requirements for PROUT’s economic democracy?
There are four requirements for PROUT’s economic democracy:

  1. The minimum requirements, including food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment, must be guaranteed to all. Not only is this an individual right, it is also a collective necessity, because the easy availability of the minimum requirements will increase the all-round welfare of society.
  2. In order to realize this goal, increasing purchasing capacity must be guaranteed to all. Local people will hold economic power, so that local raw materials will be used to promote the economic prosperity of the local people. It means that the raw materials of one socio-economic unit should not be exported to another unit. Instead, industrial centres should be built up wherever raw materials are available. This will create industries based on locally available raw materials and ensure full employment for all local people who then may trade their demi-essential and non-essential refined wares with people of other localities.
  3. In economic democracy the local people will have the power to make all economic decisions, to produce commodities on the basis of collective necessity, and to distribute all agricultural and industrial commodities. Economic liberation is a birth right of every individual.
  4. Outsiders must be strictly prevented from interfering in the local economy.

What are the political reforms required for economic democracy to function?
In order to strengthen the political system and make it conducive to economic democracy, PROUT advocates certain democratic reforms. These includes eliminating the age of suffrage and instead give the politically conscious the right to vote; as well as introducing the concept of compartmentalized democracy, where the secretariat is kept free from pressures from the cabinet.

What is the first requirement for economic democracy?
The minimum requirements of a particular age or era – including food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment – must be guaranteed to all. Not only is this every person’s right, it is a collective necessity because the easy availability of minimum requirements will increase the all-round welfare of society.

What is the second requirement for economic democracy?
Increasing purchasing capacity must be guaranteed to every single person. In economic democracy, local people will have the economic power. Local raw materials will promote the economic prosperity of the local people.

What is the third requirement for economic democracy?
The power to make all economic decisions must be placed in the hands of the local people. Economic liberation is the birthright of every single person. To achieve this, economic power must be vested in the local people. It means the local people will have the power to make all economic decisions, to produce commodities on the basis of collective necessity, and to distribute all agricultural and industrial commodities.

What is the fourth requirement for economic democracy?
Outsiders must be strictly prevented from interfering in the local economy. The outflow of local capital must be stopped by strictly preventing outsiders from participating in any kind of economic activity in a local area. These four practices will lead to increasing economic welfare, which in turn will lead to more opportunities for intellectual and spiritual emancipation of human beings.

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