What is PROUT?
“Another world is possible!” This invites the question, “What kind of world we want?” Responses in all countries are invariably the same: A world without wars, without hunger and poverty, with human rights, democracy, environmental protection, in other words, peace and justice on earth!
Prout is the acronym for the Progressive Utilization Theory, a new socio-economic model based on self-reliance of each region, cooperatives, environmental balance and universal spiritual values. It was founded by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in 1959.
Prout is not a rigid mold to be imposed on any society. It is a holistic approach of dynamic principles, which can be appropriately applied by citizens and leaders to help their region or country to prosper and become self-sufficient in an ecologically sustainable way.
According to neoliberal economics, as taught in most universities, economic inequality does not matter, because if the national economy is growing, everyone will benefit. However the reality is very different.” Some are very happy because their experience is wonderful. But the economy does not benefit everyone.
Global capitalism is based on profit, selfishness and greed. The tragic result is that half the population lives, suffers and dies in poverty. A poverty that is completely unnecessary, because there is enough food and wealth on the planet for everyone.
Prout’s solution to economic inequality is based on the obvious truth that the world’s physical resources are limited. If individuals accumulate too much, there will not be enough for everyone. Each country must decide the maximum salaries, wealth and land, and promote the maximum utilization and rational distribution of all natural resources.
The right to life is fundamental. Guarantee the minimum needs of food, clothing, housing, education and medical care.
As the psychologist Abraham Maslow said, people whose physical needs and safety are guaranteed, can more easily develop altruism and the highest potential.
The right to decent work is also a fundamental human right, and the minimum wage should be sufficient to purchase basic needs.
Prout proposes to organize the economy into three levels.
• The first level is small private enterprises.
• The second level is cooperatives: industry, agriculture, consumers, banks and services, which are “the businesses of the future.” For cooperatives to succeed, they need: honest leaders, a good business plan, strict management, and the wholehearted support of the community. The government should provide: more training and regular inspections.
• The third level is large-scale strategic industries that require very high investments and are difficult to decentralize, should operate as public companies, and should never be privatized.
Prout’s economic democracy is a dynamic economy of the people, by the people and for the people. One goal of Prout is to make each region self-reliant. This means food sovereignty.
The Social Message of Prout
The world needs leaders with moral strength, spiritual insight and courage to fight against injustice and exploitation. Anyone can become an ideal leader setting a personal example of honesty, discipline, spirit of sacrifice and devotion to the welfare of humanity.
When the founder of Prout, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, visited Venezuela in 1979, he said some words that are a source of inspiration for me.: “Venezuela needs good spiritual political leaders. If Venezuela could produce spiritual political leaders, it would not only be the leader of Latin America, but also the leader of the planet. Venezuela is a blessed country.”
For Prout, community is “a group of people that move together as a family toward a common goal.”
The Ecological and Spiritual Message of Prout
Prout has an ecological and spiritual perspective that is lacking in many economic philosophies, but is still present in traditional societies. Indigenous spirituality invariably revolves around nature and the connection to all forms of life. Indigenous peoples did not believe that the land belonged to them, but that they belonged to the land.
I would like to clarify the major differences between dogma and spirituality. Fundamentalism is closed minded, blind obedience and instills fear. Dogmas divide people into believers and nonbelievers, “us” against “them.” In contrast, the mystical quest for the truth is open-minded, asks questions and promotes love. Spirituality sees everyone as a human family, and is universal.
Prout’s spiritual perspective recognizes that all humans have a thirst for peace and happiness. We need to journey inside to find true peace and happiness, to find the connection, meaning and purpose of life, which is self-realization and service to humanity.
The Five Fundamental Principles of PROUT
by P.R. Sarkar
Idea and Ideology 1959
- No individual should be allowed to accumulate any physical wealth without the clear permission or approval of the collective body.
- There should be maximum utilization and rational distribution of all mundane, supramundane and spiritual potentialities of the universe.
- There should be maximum utilization of physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentialities of unit and collective bodies of human society.
- There should be a proper adjustment amongst these physical, metaphysical, mundane, supramundane and spiritual utilizations.
- The method of utilization should vary in accordance with changes in time, space and person, and the utilization should be of progressive nature.