The Weakening of Political Democracy and the Prospects of Economic Fairness

By Trond Øverland

All over the world over, the economy is getting worse.1 Everywhere we see the same scenario: disappearing well paid jobs which results in less purchasing capacity. When most of the fit population no longer have a decent income, they will neither be able to fend for themselves nor contribute to the economy. Due to the ensuing weak consumption and economic slowdown even the super-wealthy get cold feet and stop investing, dreading the prospects of poor returns on their investments. Hence, “financial crises” are on the cards everywhere.

The propounder of the Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout),2  Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar, noted:

"The most important economic issue before the leaders of all the countries in the world today is how to increase the standard of living of their citizens through the economic prosperity of the state. This is a burning question, especially in those countries which are economically backward. The matter is not very simple because in many countries people are still directly dependent on nature for their subsistence. Only in a few countries have people been able to utilize their knowledge and wisdom to solve their economic problems.”3

Demise of political democracy

On closer inspection, we see that economic booms and busts develop irrespective of political systems. Capitalism’s volatile ups and downs are felt as acutely in Beijing as in Moscow, Washington Istanbul, and Riyadh.

This is an essential observation: No political system, including Europe’s social democracies, has been able to guarantee welfare for everyone or even for most of their populations over time. In fact, democracies cannot even guarantee their own stability. Greece? Then Germany, a cultured and socio-economically most educated nation that descended rapidly into brutal totalitarianism where even its advanced system of education was perverted: 

“Education played a very important part in Nazi Germany in trying to cultivate a loyal following for Hitler and the Nazis. The Nazis were aware that education would create loyal Nazis by the time they reached adulthood.”4

The systemic reason for Hitler’s easy takeover, in addition to a strong national militaristic tradition, was weak post-WW1 political leadership who could not handle the realities of the country’s disastrous financial and military losses. Much like the current US president Donald Trump, Hitler came to power by manipulating political elections in primitive ways, and couldn’t care less about principles of democracy after being elected. This is a basic problem of democracy; democraticl processes from grassroots upwards require a morally conscious and well-educated electorate to function adequately, while capitalism – the system that work behind – encourages no ethics, corruption and cultural decadence.

Here a question arises, does capitalism always work behind the scenes in democracy? Eventually yes, and there are fundamental historical causes for this phenomenon. With the maturation and inevitable decadence of monarchic rule, democracies develop due to growing numbers of advisors and interest groups that gather around the throne. In time, the results of this new era of enlightenment, too, become corrupt due to internal strife and decadence. This was the case of both the Church and modern party-based democracies. It is then that capitalism, the harvester of the age of enlightenment, starts to gain supreme power.

The fact that capitalism is working behind the scenes of democracy is due the dynamics of an upcoming system taking advantage of whatever is useful to it in the preceding system. In the same way as monarchic powers ruled the labouring masses, and the forces of Enlightenment established themselves on top of the monarchic crown, capitalism utilizes society's labour, warrior power, as well as intellectual resources for all their worth. According to the theory of the social cycle this is partly how history unfolds.5 Hence, capitalism has placed democracy in front and cashes in at the back, while the political system and the whole of society continue to disintegrate and decay as a result of the commercial crudification of all that is human. 

How come you may wonder, hasn’t the penny dropped by now for people? Why do we remain caught up in the same old fragmented world of party-based political democracy? The simple reply is that the interests of both capitalists and professional politicians have been very well served by the system of political democracy covering for capitalism’s psycho-economic exploitation: 

"When economic exploitation is perpetrated by the application of brute force, it is politico-economic exploitation; but when it is done not through brute force but through the application of cunning intellectual strategy, it is primarily psycho-economic exploitation."6

Political democracies in industrially- and socially developed countries have been working as part of capitalism’s psycho-economic exploitative strategy: “You have the freedom to choose between a range of commercial products, a handful of political views, so many opinions and issues of commercial media, numerous tv channels – freedom!” Instead of crude colonial imperialism, these days we have capitalism shrouded in the people's own political system – freedom to choose. But we will never ever have economic freedom as it is reserved only for the mega-rich and jumbo-greedy.

Here’s an acute angle: If you and your family were to choose between a life of healthy food, nice clothing, housing of your choice, excellent medical services and a solid education system – or none of that in exchange for being able to vote professional politicians into office, which one would it be? You may say this is a very black or white construction. Still, it is the reality for very many today: So-called political freedom coupled with economic poverty.

Here’s another realistic perspective: The current system of political democracy is motivated largely by prospects of political power. Due to unrelenting infighting and political maneuvering between and within political parties, the ambition for power, post and position has come to consume the political mentality. If there had instead been a universal, unified movement for development and economic prosperity of all, our society may have been united and not divided along numerous party lines.

Capitalism has been working behind the scenes in democracy for a long time. However, nowadays capitalism has reached a stage where it is likely to effectively kill off democracy as this system is no longer useful to it.

The Scandinavian/European social democratic model of mixed economy, with protection of workers and consumers rights, liberal social services, political freedom, etc., is clearly under attack and may perish sooner than later. The welfare systems of those democracies were financed by classical productive capitalism via taxes. This socio-economic reality is vanishing rapidly as people’s purchasing power, common sense of ethics, and political stability are all eroding fast. 

Elsewhere, enough legislation has already been passed to establish dictatorship. As Prout Magazine, Delhi, recently reported:

On September 28, 2001 after the 9/11 Terror attacks, UN Security Council Resolution 1373 was passed unanimously. For the first time, this law was imposed upon all members of the UN without waiting for them to sign a treaty. Even more unusual was the fact that the meeting to discuss this bill began at 10:50 PM and adjourned at 10:53 PM and even more strange is that there is no official record of this meeting. This law calls upon all nations to change their laws to create anti-terrorism legislation. What has happened since then has been the creation of laws which violate democratic civil liberties and often persecute minorities in many nations. This has been termed by Law Professor Kim Lane Schepple as the “International State of Emergency.” The result has been a movement towards what has been termed “The Global Police State”.

There is in fact reason to argue that capitalism is not capitalism anymore, as it is not about production and services but about wild speculation and manipulation. In the current era of such pseudo-capitalism, the speed of democracy’s demise is significant in the third world, the US, and the UK, and slower in Europe; although at the time of writing, France is in a permanent state of emergency – in violation of its enlightenment/revolutionary political ideals.

Declining purchasing capacity

The continuing reduction in people’s actual purchasing power is a significant indicator of worsening economic times. When salaries start to fall behind the cost of living, the value of money fails to hold up against any economic crisis. Until recently, salary earners in opulent countries did not face the problem of significantly weakening purchasing power but nowadays they do, even in countries where the economy is on the increase according to government statistics.7

Gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP) are the main conventional statistical tools for measuring growth and decline of economies. These tools distribute aggregate national economic figures per capita – the sum of national produce divided by the number of citizens (irrespective of who is employed, unemployed, retired, minors, ill, etc.). Such figures, that include operations of companies working abroad, etc., yield statistical average abstracts and provide little accurate information on people’s actual economic situation. GDP and GNP, based on macroeconomic data, may not even remotely be related to the realities of individuals, their families, and societies.

According to Prout, the only real yardstick of people’s economic circumstances is their purchasing power. If people’s purchasing power amounts to less than the cost of securing the minimum necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter, medical services, and education – then those people are poor. When their purchasing power meets those targets then those people are above the poverty line and are more or less ok. Whereas if someone’s purchasing power surpasses the cost of the minimum necessities, such people may be said to be well-off. Shrii Sarkar opined:

“The minimum requirements can be assured through guaranteed purchasing capacity which should be enshrined in the constitution as a fundamental or cardinal human right. This will give the citizens of the country legal power if their minimum requirements are not met, hence the necessity of purchasing capacity will be reinforced by constitutional law. As people’s economy will deal with minimum requirements and people’s subsistence problems, it must take precedence over other parts of the economy.”8

Two fundamental causes of decreasing purchasing power feed into each other:

  1. Firstly, as wealth concentration is increasing by leaps and bounds, the number of have-nots is increasing sharply while the number of the well-to-do and rich is decreasing. This means much less for the growing majority and much, much more for very few.
  2. Consequently, most families and individuals have less disposable income than they used to have. This negative macroeconomic trend generates a second cause of declining purchasing power: Because of the economic weakening of the masses, the rich minority grows all the time more averse to investing in what is perceived as an increasingly high-risk environment. As a result, economic life starts to grind to a standstill.

The two main indications today of such a vicious economic circle are:

  • Astronomically inflated financial markets, and
  • Epidemic proportions of personal-, company-, and national debt fast spiraling out of control.

Prout’s way of improving the economy of society’s grassroots is, as already indicated, economic democracy through economic decentralization. Shrii Sarkar termed such a socio-economic setup progressive socialism.

Genuine socialism, anyone?

The term socialism implies collective movement. Its socio-economic spirit is the social regulation of wealth. In order to make that spirited movement rich and meaningful, a dynamic goal should be established. However, materialist socialists inspired by Karl Marx transformed the concept of social regulation into party control, and gave socialism a bad name by heavy associations with totalitarianism, state capitalism, and growing economic staticity.

The practical result of Marxist materialist socialism – communism – was state dictatorship and the attack on everything that is human. Such authoritarianism is perhaps unsurprising given that communism developed first in Russia, a vast country of largely uneducated citizens at the time, and as an antithesis to capitalism and dogmatic religion both with little or no synthesis ideology. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, much developed civilizations and cultures may suddenly turn into brutal fascism, too. Both Communism and Nazism were dogmatic systems based on rigid sets of restricted thinking. Under the banners of aggression and pure fantasy, those primitive “isms” ultimately became barriers to the progress and freedom of their citizens and the country.

We may agree that the intentions of leadership and its ideological orientation will decide whether a country may generate human welfare, and not its political system or administration. If change is ethically motivated, such as in an uprising against injustice or exploitation, the outcome is likely to be the establishment of some righteous force or ideal. On the other hand, where changes are motivated by revenge or hatred of some kind, the outcome will surely spell death and destruction. Shrii Sarkar explained:

"According to PROUT, there are two types of sentiments – positive sentiments and negative sentiments. Positive sentiments are synthetic in nature. They unite society and elevate humanity, enhance collective interests and encourage progressive development. Negative sentiments are narrow in scope and divide society.

"Some important positive sentiments include anti-exploitation sentiment, revolutionary sentiment, moral sentiment, cultural sentiment, universal sentiment and spiritual sentiment. Some negative sentiments include communalism, patriotism, nationalism, provincialism, lingualism and racism.

"Negative sentiments should never be used to divide people into castes and communities – to create artificial fissiparous tendencies in society. Rather, they should always be used to bring unity amongst people. Hitler used racism in an effort to unite the German people and he succeeded in the short-term, but because he used negative sentiments only and had no positive sentiments, his approach resulted in a world war and the near destruction of Germany. The path of negativity is extremely dangerous and harmful for society. Positive sentiments are the real weapons to build society. This must never be forgotten under any circumstances."9

Prout is a non-dogmatic, spiritually-ecologically oriented socio-economic theory. According to it, ultimately spiritual development is real progress, while physical and psychic dynamics are affected if not negated by their respective natural side effects. Physical and mental development may be termed as “progressive” whenever they support and are in harmony with genuine spiritual development.

Capitalism’s flood of individualism and selfish pleasure, under the banner of freedom, permits the unchecked accumulation of physical wealth. Gradually its implications are starting to dawn on people, that the unbridled acquisition of even a single person comes at the cost of the basic welfare of very many others. Still, capitalism triumphantly boasts, “such are the costs of freedom!” This is how political democracy directly supports profit-oriented, self-seeking economics: "Political freedom = economic liberalization. Do what you like and everything is fine!"

The universal declaration of human rights presents itself today as little else but an amplification of shrewd manipulation of the medieval concept of habeus corpus, the antithesis of feudalism and repository of individual political rights.10 Modern capitalist democratic theory is clearly “old school” in light of it. The UN declaration of 1948 suits neither the super-exploitative late capitalism we are witnessing today, nor the fresh dynamics of forward-looking, decentralized economies and economic democracy.

The only reference to economy in the UN human rights appears in Article 17-1: “Everyone has the right to property alone as well as in association with others.” That is, classical capitalism. This statement has nothing to do with the universal need for a place to live, that is one of the minimum necessities of life, but has all to do with the right to ownership (and thereby to renting out, doing business, etc.) and nothing is said about the amount of such property.

Elsewhere, Article 23 addresses among other things the right to work, protection against unemployment, equal pay for equal work, just and favorable remuneration, and the right to form trade unions, an offer effectively reduced to tall talk only under the rampages in this current phase of late global capitalism.

The UN declaration of basic human rights has nothing to do with economic democracy. It has everything to do with capitalism’s need for a universally recognizable human face in its pursuit of global economic exploitation under the beguiling banner of individualism and self-centered satisfaction.

Today, failing political democracy has become the enemy of people’s economy. Far from favoring the long-term interests of consumers and producers, political democracy does everything to back the immediate needs of capitalist exploiters. Instead of uniting everyone, political democracy has divided us. Political democracy is hand-in-glove with global capitalism, and not with economic democracy.

Ideology and practical politics

The ideological platform of Prout centers on the principle of cosmic inheritance. Supreme Consciousness is the real owner of all wealth in the universe as it is the creator of everything. Shrii Sarkar established:

“This universe is the psychic and internal projection of Cosmic Consciousness, and ours is a reflected projection. We cannot create anything original. Whatever we do, we do with the physical waves radiated from the matter. We can only make physical mixtures and chemical compounds. The ownership lies with the Cosmic Entity and not with individuals.”11

This spiritual view transforms into Prout’s principle of social equality. We are an expression of Cosmic Consciousness. The essential spirit of society is that we are all family moving in unison towards our common goal, the supreme desideratum. Prout’s spirit of sharing all wealth rationally, and not dogmatically in vertical (hierarchical, capitalist) or horizontal (flat, communist) fashion, radically sets its progressive socialism apart:

  • The existential value of everyone is the same, while
  • The social value of individuals may vary.

In economic terms, Prout promotes these dynamics by:

  • Ensuring a minimum of purchasing capacity of everyone through work, while
  • Differentiating between average and excellent contributions by way of rewarding preeminent social efforts with special amenities.

In addition to maximizing the efficacy of incentives while minimizing social inequality, other points of differentiation from materialist socialism include:

  • All-round human development and progress.
  • Full psychic and spiritual freedom.
  • Ecological integrity.
  • Strengthening local cultural roots towards a universal synthesis.
  • Decentralized planning.
  • Worker participation in decision-making and the cooperative ownership of assets.
  • Consumption-oriented (not profit-motivated) economy, and more.12

Prout ensures that collective development will accelerate and not stagnate into “to all according to need, from all according to ability.” Instead, Prout installs a sense of “guaranteeing the minimum requirements of all as well as the maximum development of their potentialities.” Under Prout, everyone will work and there will be no shortage of suitable jobs for all. Shrii Sarkar opined:

“First, there should be 100% employment for the local people. The basic right of all people is to be guaranteed the minimum essentials for their existence, including at least proper food, clothing, housing, education and medical care. This basic right should be arranged through cent per cent guaranteed employment, not through welfare or dole-outs. Unemployment is a critical economic problem in the world today and 100% employment of the local people is the only way to solve this problem.

"Local people are defined as those who have merged individual socio-economic interests with the socio-economic interests of the socio-economic unit they live in. The primary consideration is whether people have merged their individual interests with their socio-economic unit, regardless of their color, creed, race, mother tongue, birthplace, etc. Those who earn their livelihood in a socio-economic unit but spend their earnings in another socio-economic unit should be considered as outsiders or non-local people, as this practice is not in accordance with the interests of the socioeconomic unit in which they are employed. It results in the drainage of the capital necessary for the continued growth of that unit and undermines its economic development.

"Capitalists, in either their singular or collective forms, are the most pernicious economic exploiters today. All over the world they are continually exploiting local economies and draining their wealth. In nearly all cases the profits they accrue are spent outside the local area and remitted to outside stockholders and parent companies. An essential measure to control this economic exploitation is that the speculative markets in all countries of the world should be closed immediately.

"To create 100% employment among local people, Prout supports both a short-term and a long-term economic plan. In the short-term plan, labor intensive industries based on the collective minimum requirements of life should be started immediately or made more productive where they already exist. These industries should be based on the consumption motive. They should also provide a rational profit to guarantee adequate purchasing capacity to those employed in them and to ensure their continued existence and growth. In North Bihar, for example, where there is virtually no industry, all kinds of agrico- and agro-industries can be developed to alleviate the unemployment problem there.

"In the long-term plan, capital-intensive industries should also be developed to increase the productive capacity of the socioeconomic unit. Prout advocates a three-tiered economic structure, that is, small-scale privately-owned businesses, medium-scale cooperatives and large-scale key industries managed by the immediate government. Such an economic structure should be based on the principles of self-reliance, maximum utilization, rational distribution, decentralization, rationalization and progressive increases in the standard of living of all people. Through the never-ending creation of new industries, new products and new production techniques incorporating the latest scientific discoveries, the vitality of the economy can be increased. As part of the long-term economic plan, working hours may also be progressively reduced to maintain full employment.

"To solve the unemployment problem in both the short- and long-term there must be an accurate understanding of the surplus and deficit manual and intellectual labor trends. In India, for example, there is surplus manual labor in North Bihar, which is based upon an agricultural economy, and surplus intellectual labor in Calcutta. In both places there is high unemployment. In most of the countries of the world where there is high unemployment, there is surplus manual labor. So manual labor-intensive industries are required to create employment. In some instances where deficit labor exists for an expanding industry, retraining programs may equip workers with the necessary skills for employment.

"Another way to help solve unemployment, especially in rural communities, is the utilization of plants for economic self-reliance. All socio-economic units have the potential to increase their plant and crop varieties by properly matching these with the soil, topography and climatic conditions etc. in their units. Reforestation can reclaim arid and semi-arid regions, and some unique plants like the Puranica or fern, which has the capacity to attract clouds, can help radically transform the rainfall and weather patterns of a region. Agro- and agrico-industries based upon the productive potential of different plants can also help solve rural unemployment by creating a range of new goods and services. There are many dimensions to this revolutionary plant rationalization program, which is also a practical expression of the ideals of Neohumanism.”13

Further details on Prout’s economic democracy are found below under Improving democracy below.

Leadership

Conventional democracy means representative administration of, by and for the people. Democracy is less about leadership and more about representation. In fact, democracy becomes largely unhelpful whenever a strong leader comes along for better or for worse. It is also true that people have a weakness for hero worship. Most people want clear and conclusive leadership, and not any representation of their own feebleness and frailties. This is as true for students in schools, employees at work, as for citizens in society overall.

Democratic representation is not deeply rooted in human civilization. Long before democracy, leaders took the masses forward on their path. And before that? It is difficult to say how long our ancestors lived without leadership. We may as well concur with Peter Gronn, Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, who puts the figure at one hundred thousand years.14  According to Gronn, hunter-gatherers began the transition to early chiefdoms and embryonic states between 3,000 and 6,000 years ago, while it is only in the previous 100-500 years that we have seen state-level polities.

For the sake of simplification, we may equate Gronn’s state-level polities with modern party-based democracy. As an alternative to chiefdom, absolute monarchy, dictatorship and other forms of authoritarian decision-making, political democracy has been around for some 2500 years, although not in the liberalist form promoted under global capitalism. Early forms of democracy, such as those evolved by the North-Indian Licchavii royal society and Greek republics, meant the rule of an elite minority; a select group of aristocrats who had somehow managed to wrestle state powers from former despotic rulers.

Two millennia later, post-French Revolution democracies continue to demand universal voting rights and freedom of expression for everybody. As already mentioned, there are significant hitches to these so-called democratic principles. One such hitch to liberal political democracy is, as comparatively uneducated people remain in a majority all over the world, voters are basically kept in the dark under the influence of a commercial media that keep bombarding them with utter nonsense meant to feed the crude desires and flimsy sentiments of the largely ignorant majority. This form of democracy, based essentially in commercially motivated media, and not on people meeting people, is no more than a hundred years old and has yet, as previously indicated, to prove its lasting human benevolence.

Today, much of the world, including that of China and most Islamic states, remain subjected to totalitarian and dogmatic forms of rule. Such regimes are routinely lectured by democratic leaders and western agencies on the virtues of human rights. There is, overall, very little freedom on offer, particularly when we add economic liberation and not begging, to the list of required conditions for freedom.

Improving democracy

While a system of combining political and economic freedom only remains a theoretical proposition, the current US presidency of property tycoon and reality tv star Donald Trump begs the question: Is today’s commercial democracy really the high point of democracy? Couldn’t we do better? With his bizarre ways and autocratic demeanor, the obviously uninformed Mr. Trump has shaken the democratic West at its core, while the entire “undemocratic world” is laughing.

Perhaps part of “The Donald’s” historical role is to put into sharp focus everything that is more or less questionable about political democracy under capitalism, including:

  • Under political democracy, society is subjected to heavy commercial media manipulation;
  • Democracy under capitalism doesn’t seem to educate the masses politically but instead confuses them;
  • Most such befuddled, manipulated voters may not be in the right but in the wrong, and may therefore, by their “mob rule”, repress better-informed minorities;
  • Meanwhile, economic, political and social disparities continue to increase enormously;
  • Overall, moral ethics seem to be on the decline with corruption and cynicism on the increase, a situation that is apparently not helped by the entrenched party-system.

Some of the conspicuous weaknesses of present forms of commercially motivated, saleable democracy were listed above. Let us now see whether we have got some radical remedies and solutions to offer.

EDUCATION: First, active participants in democracy must be properly educated. Democracy got to be enlightened. Voters and candidates must prove their knowledge of current problems, potentialities and resources, as well as their ability to address these. Following on from this, avenues for addressing pressing problems and their solutions must be evolved and expanded. In the same way as ecology has gone some way to address current physical problems and challenges, still more advanced and sophisticated knowledge and methodologies must be advanced to address still greater and deeper challenges of political, economic, social and cultural life, etc.

Such knowledge and practices cannot only concern itself with the physical world but also with the far greater psychic and spirituality spheres of human existence. By placing greater spheres of existence before all, by addressing the need and value of more subtle life and values, avenues towards solving life’s more ordinary challenges will, too, be greatly facilitated and significantly broadened.

As to the notion of being educated, age, literacy and university degrees cannot be the deciding criteria for obtaining voting rights. Rather, all-round human matureness should be the key factor. It is the duty of society to secure the integrated development for all its citizens. Education cannot simply mean theoretical knowledge. Rather it should generate all-round growth – physically, mentally and spiritually – in both individual and collective life.

Today there is no lack of university-educated people who remain insensitive to actual problems and the challenges facing humanity. Instead they remain concerned about themselves and their own little group only. Such selfish individuals and groups avoid taking larger collective issues into account, whatever their level of education. This sorry situation is mainly caused by a faulty system of education that has never taken practical life seriously. In its place, any system of education and training must involve deep, comprehensive ecological, moral ethics and spiritual learning presented in straightforward and practical ways.

Education and training should be uplifting for the individual as well as for the collective. New relevant methodologies for solving burning issues should be implemented without any reservations and unnecessary delay.

LEADERSHIP: Secondly, as present commercially-motivated institutions may not be able to plan for and deliver such progressive education, the need for generating fresh leadership requires our undivided attention. As a matter of fact, we must find ways and means to seed, sprout and nurture new systems both inside and outside the present establishment. Since democracy is defined as rule of, by and for the people we should first ask ourselves about the nature of good leadership and how it should benefit a well-functioning democracy. Considering the above, we should welcome the following premises:

  1. Proper leadership must be morally enlightened.
  2. It must also be spiritually enlightened
  3. These two prerequisites feed into each other.

As power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, the essential leadership of a properly functioning democracy should not occupy political office directly. Instead, it should function as an indirect power that monitors political, economic, social, and cultural developments while being in broad mutual communication with the entire society.

For such a leadership to be relevant to the welfare of all, it cannot derive from a certain class or interest group. The world needs no more military rule, theocracy, etc. On the contrary, leadership must be beyond class and universal in spirit. As morality and spirituality are open for every class, creed, and color, these two – dynamic morality and living spirituality – will well serve the purpose of proper individual and collective education and training.

Obviously, such an educative and inspiring leadership will be able to generate both an increasingly qualified electorate as well as still better equipped candidates for office. In fact, the emergence of a properly equipped moral and spiritual leadership will benefit everyone irrespective of class and other potential group interests. A well-directed system of education, dynamic morality and living spirituality are the prerequisites as well as the medicine for democracy.

ECONOMIC DECENTRALIZATION: Today the slogan of the professional political class is "Political freedom!". Freedom to quarrel amongs themselves, and to lie for, betray, and deceive the electorate. Current political democracy has been hijacked by vested interests and commercial forces that keep forming opportunistic alliances that are in conflict with cardinal human values. It is therefore relevant to question political democracy.

For the survival and further progress of humanity, basic values of economic democracy should be promoted and developed. The prime needs of human beings are food, medicine, clothing, housing and education, and not political documents of theoretical human rights. Let people take their economic destiny in their own hands and decide its outcome for themselves. The development of political values on the other hand may then be left to a class-less, detached, enlightened leadership such as discussed above. Prout favors economic decentralisation and political centralisation with a democratically elected world government as its supreme body.

Prout recognizes a number of essential requirements for economic democracy to take root. We have already addressed the need of sufficient purchasing capacity to secure the minimum necessities of life for all. The only way to establish such purchasing capacity is by work for everyone, and Prout guarantees such a thriving work market.

Further requirements for economic democracy include local economic rule, non-interference of outsiders in the local economy, and the consistent effort for the welfare of all living beings including that of all animals and plants.15

Prout’s model of economic democracy can only function within a decentralized economic system. The requirements for decentralized economic systems include in brief:16

  1. All the resources in a socio-economic unit should be controlled by the local people. In particular, the resources which are required to produce the minimum requirements must be in local hands, and all the industries based on these resources will have to be controlled entirely by the local people.
  2. Production should be based on consumption, not profit.
  3. Production and distribution should be organized through cooperatives.
  4. Local people must be employed in local economic enterprises.
  5. Commodities which are not locally produced should be removed from the local markets.

Conclusion

In response to a historical need for enlightened rule and economic liberation of all, humanity need to evolve collective leadership based on spiritual-moral enlightenment. It would require us all to start practicing moral-ethical behavior and spirituality in earnest. Such a moral and spiritual collective movement may not take the same form everywhere but may differ in response to varying circumstances and ongoing changes. The common point would be the common human heart and universal consciousness.

The next step of democracy lies in evolving practical economic democracy supported by universal moral-ethical and spiritual leadership from the grassroots upwards.

Notes

https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/world-economic-situation-and-prospects-wesp-2017.html
2 See http://proutglobe.org/prout
3 “Decentralized Economy – 1”, P.R. Sarkar. Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, Ananda Marga Publications.
4 The History Learning Site, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/nazi-education/
5 More on Prout’s theory of the social cycle: http://proutglobe.org/prout/socio-economics/social/#socl
6 "Exploitation and Pseudo-Culture", P. R. Sarkar. The Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism, Ananda Marga Publications.
7 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/28/death-middle-class-undermine-democracy, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/03/whats-the-solution-to-middle-class-stagnation/472194/, etc.
8 From “Quadri-Dimensional Economy”, P.R. Sarkar. A Few Problems Solved Part 7, Ananda Marga Publications.
9 “Nuclear Revolution”, P.R. Sarkar. Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, Ananda Marga Publications.
10 http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
11 From Discourses on Prout – 1, P.R. Sarkar. Ananda Marga Publications.
12 Further comparisons of Prout with materialist socialism and other systems are found at http://proutglobe.org/prout/ideology/comparative/
13 “Socio-Economic Movements”, P.R. Sarkar. A Few Problems Solved Part 9, Ananda Marga Publications.
14 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/peter-gronn-early-human-society-hunted-gathered-ndash-and-worked-without-leaders-1706868.html
15 More on Prout’s concept and system of economic democracy is found at http://proutglobe.org/prout/socio-economics/economics/economic-democracy/
16 More on Prout’s concept and system of decentralized economy is found at http://proutglobe.org/2011/06/decentralized-economy-1/

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