PROUT

PROUT
For a More Progressively Evolving Society

Comprehensive Socio-Economic Theory

PROUT is a comprehensive socio-economic theory dealing with the full range of concerns relevant to a political philosophy.  Each of these facets of social theory is listed below, along with a brief statement of PROUT's views.

Value Base

       First, a comprehensive political philosophy articulates a value base that properly orients the development of society. 

      The value base of PROUT is NeoHumanism, an ethical outlook derived from spirituality.  NeoHumanism affirms the interwoven, interconnected nature of life and holds that the welfare of one cannot be distinguished from the welfare of another, and that all life should be respected and all people encouraged in their self-expression. 

Basic Principles

       Second, a comprehensive political philosophy puts forward fundamental principles to guide and adapt social policy in a way that maintains social equilibrium and progress. 

      PROUT is based on the fundamental principle that all have potentiality in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres and that they must be given opportunity, both individually and collectively, to develop and utilize that potentiality.  A well-balanced society will fully support and promote this development and will not suppress the development of any individual in any sphere. 

Theory of History

       Third, it contains a theory of history, so that the dynamic forces that motivate social movement can be understood and directed. 

History, in the PROUTist view, is the expression of a people's collective psychology; it flows out of their ideas, values, and sentiments.  Many factors shape collective psychology, one of the most important being social class.  Societies are dominated by either warrior, or priesthood/professional, or merchant elites, and in ways that are often oppressive to the subordinated classes, and quite often such exploitation can be so subtle that is inconspicuous or even glorified.  PROUT rejects the belief that social classes will wither, as class identity is deeply rooted in people's social experience.  The answer to class tyranny is not the utopia of a classless society, but the emergence of spiritual-moral individuals (sadvipras) anchored in the primacy of life, fluently comprehend and express universal principles, people who are bereft of class allegiances who are popularly accepted as natural leaders, and who are motivated by a spirit of service.  Because of their concern for universal welfare, any change they facilitate will not be for the benefit of oppressive elites, but for the benefit of all. 

Society and Culture

       Fourth, it has a conception of society that fosters social unity and cooperation, and of culture that vitalizes and strengthens the human psyche. 

      Society cannot be governed by individualistic desires and self-centered or group-centered motives, rather that it must be acknowledge and proactively expressed that we are one family, united in our humanity and moving toward a common spiritual destiny.  Out of this more cosmic paradigm, humanity can become strongly united on a planetary level.  Cultural expression must not be suppressed, and culture cannot be imposed, be commercially controlled, or be homogenous in nature.  Culture should arise authentically and be locally adapted.  Culture, though universal in essence, should be diverse in expression, and it should deepen a people's identity and empower them to fully express their potentialities.

Political System

       Fifth, it proposes a just, effective and ethical system of governance. 

      Democracy, to be viable, can only occur where there is local economic control; so PROUT calls for economic democracy.  PROUT also asserts that democracy requires an electorate that is well-educated, possess socio-economic-political consciousness, and has high ethical standards.  Political leaders should selected on the basis of their competency, universal outlook, and moral strength.  In addition to executive, legislative and judicial branches, there should be a strong audit branch that insures the integrity of government.  A world federation must be established which prevents military conflicts, secures the rights of minorities, protects the environment, and insures equitable distribution of resources, among other things.  The foundation of the world constitutional framework would be a neo-Magna Charta.  This neo-Magna Charta would guarantee the existence of all species, guarantee all citizens the purchasing capacity to acquire their basic necessities, and guarantee the right to education, use of indigenous language, expression of local culture, and spiritual practice, except where these rights conflict with cardinal human values.

Economic System

       Sixth, it provides an economic system for the production and distribution of goods and services in a way that meets human needs, insures equity and maintains balance. 

      Capitalism is based on self-interest and it centralizes economic power in the hands of a relative few.  Capitalism cannot provide for the welfare of all, maintain balance in the natural world, or keep local communities vital.  While certain features of capitalism, such as incentives and markets, are of value, a new economic system is required.  This new system should be based on decentralizing and democratizing economic power, on production that meets human needs, and on economic activity that is sustainable.  The main form of economic enterprise should be cooperatives.  Economic planning should be highly decentralized.  Capital should not be allowed to drain out of local economies. There should be equitable distribution of the world's resources.  All people should possess adequate purchasing capacity to acquire the basic necessities and normal amenities of life, and the standard of purchasing capacity should increase over time.  Incentives are essential for the economic welfare of society.

Ecological Philosophy

       Seventh, it contains an ecological philosophy that establishes a balanced relationship between society and the natural world.

      Humans are not inferior or superior to other living beings; they are a part of the larger community of life and live in an interdependent web of living beings.  If human society is to be healthy it must exist in harmony with the web of life within which it exists.  If it becomes destructive to the web, then it becomes self-destructive.  So human society must be guided by values that keep it in harmony with the natural world.  It should also be recognized that the same general laws that govern the natural world also govern the human society, so political philosophy should mirror ecological laws.

Future Vision

       Eighth, it has a future vision which projects a sense of the direction society is moving toward. 

      PROUT recognizes that humanity is entering into a period of unprecedented challenges and crises, due to the accumulated affects of a social order based on materialism, self-interest and dogmas.  But it views these crises as being part of a maturing process leading to a new era in which the deeper potentialities of the human race can be expressed, in which enlightened values guide a planetary society, and in which balance is fully maintained with the natural world.  In the new era, there will also be a balancing of male and female standing in society, and a maturity of masculine and feminine self-expression.  Progress will come to be viewed as much in the context of spiritual development as material advancement.

Methodology for Change

       And ninth, it provides a methodology for effectively materializing theory into practical social reality. 

      The current political and economic order is unstable and unsustainable and will go into increasing crisis.  As this occurs, interest will naturally arise in ideological alternatives.  So it will become important to be able to project a suitable new social model and inspire people with a new ideal.  Equally important will be having fresh new leaders who can promote universal welfare.  It will also be helpful to build practical models that demonstrate new values and new principles.  According to local circumstances, social movements must be built to advance people's aspirations for a new social order.  Social struggle should be undertaken in a manner that minimizes harm to life and destruction of property.  As a liberated society can only arise from the liberated consciousness of individuals, spiritual growth is a part and parcel of social change.

Because of its comprehensive and progressive nature, PROUT is increasingly being recognized as an insightful and powerful socio-economic paradigm that offers a sound vision and genuine hope at this critical juncture in human history.