In today’s world large animals are on the verge of extinction. Environmental conditions do not support the existence of big animals any longer. In the past many large creatures inhabited the earth, but as environmental conditions changed and human beings extended their domination over the planet, giant animals became extinct.
Similarly, small states are struggling to survive. People are more interested in forming larger and larger socio-economic units to ensure the welfare of all than in maintaining many small states. Narrow sentiments are gradually fading away and a universal outlook is arising in the minds of human beings. Science and technological development have exposed the blind faith and dogma that have suffocated many sections of society, and gradually humanity is advancing towards an age of rationality and common interest. The present age is not the age of large animals and small states.
In accordance with this trend, PROUT advocates the formation of self-sufficient socio-economic units throughout the world. They will work to enhance the all-round welfare of the people in their respective areas and unite humanity on a common ideological base. The interests of all local people will be guaranteed and gain proper recognition. As each unit becomes strong and prosperous it will merge with other units. The formation of a world government will assist this process of integration. Socio-economic units will thus facilitate the comprehensive, multifarious liberation of humanity.
Since the beginning of history there has been an incessant fight for freedom from natural, social, economic and political bondages. This fight is inherent in human nature. Human beings want freedom both as individuals and as members of society, and to achieve this freedom they must fight against all types of oppression. Yet we find that when any oppressed group or class gained some measure of freedom it in turn oppressed others.
Whatever liberty exists in society today is the result of prolonged struggle by many individuals and groups. At the root of this struggle is the innate human desire for happiness – the longing to establish oneself in the supreme flow of bliss. To fulfil this longing in individual life, human beings have to attain the absolute state and break all shackles of relativity. It is a natural human tendency to liberate the mind from the bondages of time, space and person, but only the attainment of the absolute can fulfil the innate desire for happiness.
Society will have to encourage the individual search for absolute freedom because the psychic and spiritual realms are unlimited, and possession in these spheres does not hinder the progress of others. But unrestricted freedom to acquire wealth in the physical sphere has every possibility of permitting a few people to roll in luxury while hampering the all-round growth of the majority, because physical resources are limited. Individual liberty in the physical sphere must not be allowed to hamper the development of the complete human personality, and at the same time it must not be so drastically curtailed that the all-round growth of society is impeded.
Freedom is a right of every human being. To encourage comprehensive, unbarred human expression in the different spheres of social life a congenial socio-economic environment has to be created, because as such an environment does not exist today.
Criteria for Groupification
While forming socio-economic units, several factors should be considered. These include same economic problems; uniform economic potentialities; ethnic similarities; the sentimental legacy of the people; and similar geographical features.
“Same economic problems” refers to the common economic problems confronting people in a particular unit and may include the lack of markets for locally produced goods, surplus or deficit labour problems, communication or transportation difficulties and lack of irrigation water. Ascertaining whether or not a similar set of economic problems exists in an area is the first thing which should be clearly analysed when forming a socio-economic unit. The economic problems of the socio-economic unit, and their solutions, should be well understood.
Secondly, there should be uniform economic potentialities in the unit. Despite natural variations from place to place, overall the people throughout a unit should enjoy similar opportunities for economic prosperity. Disparity between the haves and the have-nots and the rich and the poor will have to be progressively reduced so that the collective wealth will increase and society will become bountiful.
Thirdly, there should be ethnic similarities. In the past many races and sub-races have been suppressed and exploited by powerful or dominant races. Racism has been propagated by those with evil designs in order to divide society and establish their own pre-eminence. Society must guard against such narrow and dangerous sentiments. This can be done only if every ethnic group has adequate scope for its expression and development. The multi-coloured garland of humanity will be enriched to the extent diverse human groups blend together from a position of strength and independence out of a genuine love for each other, and are not forced together through fear or compulsion.
Fourthly, sentimental legacy includes factors such as language, historical traditions, literature, common usages and cultural expressions. It is the common chord in the collective psychology of a particular group of people which gives them their unique identity and sense of affinity.
Human beings are predominantly sentimental by nature. They establish some kind of relationship with the many objects of the world through their day-to-day activities. If the sentiment for a particular favourite object is adjusted with the collective sentiment then that sentiment can be utilized for establishing unity in human society. The human sentiment for many objects may sometimes run counter to the collective sentiment and create great disunity, so those sentiments which are conducive to human unity should be encouraged, and the sentiments which divide human society should be rejected. This is the approach adopted by PROUT’s socio-economic units.
Finally, similar geographical features such as topography, river systems, rainfall and irrigation water should also be considered in the formation of a socio-economic unit.
Socio-economic units will give expression to popular sentiments and fight against all forms of exploitation to meet the demands and aspirations of the local people. Movements will have to be launched throughout the world to establish self-sufficient socio-economic units based on the maxim, “Know the area, prepare the plan and serve the people.” Local people are those who have merged their individual socio-economic interests with the socio-economic interests of the socio-economic unit they live in.
Self-Sufficient Socio-Economic Units
Each socio-economic unit should prepare and implement its own developmental programmes. Factors like natural resources, topography, river systems, cultural conditions, communication and industrial potential need to be considered to facilitate proper planning and development so that each unit will become economically self-sufficient and prosperous. If a significant part of the production of a unit is misutilized or capital is sent outside, the unit cannot increase its prosperity, hence there should be maximum utilization of all resources and no drainage of capital.
The Indian state of Orissa is very rich in mineral resources such as coal, bauxite and manganese, but the present leaders export these mineral resources to other countries. If the raw materials had been utilized for indigenous industrial production, then four big steel plants could easily have been established. This would have substantially raised per capita income. But the leaders, instead of paying attention to those things, whimsically frame five year plans. These plans neither remove economic disparity nor increase collective wealth.
To achieve these objectives, the Indian economy has to be thoroughly overhauled. At the very outset, to facilitate socio-economic development, the country should be divided into socio-economic units. If state boundaries are demarcated on the basis of political and linguistic considerations, then socio-economic plans can never be properly prepared and implemented, and various economic problems will not be given due attention. Self-sufficient units are indispensable for expediting the country’s economic progress.
Merging Socio-Economic Units
Where there is economic parity, cultural mixing, communication facilities and administrative efficiency, it will be easy and natural for two or more adjoining units to cooperate, because they will have attained a high degree of socio-economic uniformity. In such cases they should merge to form a single larger unit. This will further the welfare of their respective citizens and enhance their socio-economic interests.
In some places regions with different economic problems are located within the same political unit. For example, in the Chotanagpur Hills in Bihar there is an acute problem of irrigation, whereas in the plains of north Bihar there is the problem of water drainage. These two regions should be formed into distinct socio-economic units. Royalseema, Shrii Kakulam and Telengana have all been annexed to the one political state of Andhra, although their economic problems are different. In the interests of the people living in these three regions, each should be formed into a distinct socio-economic unit. If these three regions are converted into a single economic unit right now simply for administrative purposes, it may lead to complications.
Thus, in some cases one political unit may be divided into two or more socio-economic units. That is, there can be more than one socio-economic unit in a political unit. This approach will enable different socio-economic units to develop to a level which fulfils their potentiality.
If a particular state in a federal system cannot get economic justice, it may agitate for the separate allocation of funds within the federal budget. If, after launching such an agitation, it still fails to secure proper justice, it will have no alternative but to demand the formation of a separate state.
However, PROUT does not favour the formation of many small states, each with its separate budget and administration. Numerous state divisions will only compound socio-economic problems, causing unnecessary duplication, and are costly and wasteful. Rather, small states should be expanded into larger socio-economic units.
When two units reach a similar level of development, they should merge together to form a larger unit. This process of unification will gradually result in the formation of one socio-economic unit for all India. In the next phase, through continued growth and development, the whole of South and Southeast Asia will become one socio-economic unit. Eventually, the whole world will function as one integrated socio-economic unit. After reaching this stage of development, socio-economic groupifications will have attained a state of equipoise and equilibrium, and universal fraternity will become a reality.
Universal in Spirit, Regional in Approach
Socio-economic units are bound to gain great popularity all over the world within a short time. While there may be diverse cultural expressions and socio-economic potentialities in different units, the points of difference should not be allowed to divide humanity. If the common sentiments of human beings are given prominence and the points of unity are made the basis of collective development, diversity will enrich humanity rather than tear it asunder. If each socio-economic unit is inspired by a comprehensive ideology and a universal outlook, human society will move ahead with accelerating speed towards a sublime ideal.
A sound ideological base is a prerequisite for socio-economic groupifications. Such a foundation is provided by universal humanism, which has the potential to unite all humanity. Universal humanism will not be established on the hard crust of the earth overnight, but will come to fruition gradually, stage by stage. It will include each and every person in the world, as well as animals, plants and inanimate objects. If a single person remains outside the influence of universalism and becomes a victim of exploitation, then the foundation of universal humanism will be undermined. Hence, PROUT has adopted a rational method to solve socio-economic problems which may be characterized as universal in spirit but regional in approach.
Protection from Exploitation
Once socio-economic units are established throughout the world, how will exploitation be avoided in the future? Society will enjoy lasting protection from all types of exploitation only if an integrated ideology, an empirical spiritual base, spiritually oriented cadres and proper institutions are well established in social life.
An integrated ideology should have several aspects. It must be the basis for the rational analysis of socio-economic problems and the formulation of comprehensive, appropriate and logical solutions. Secondly, it must not ignore the human need for psychic expansion and spiritual emancipation. And thirdly, it should be imbued with inherent dynamism and vitality so that it can guide humanity forward in its quest for all-round progress.
An empirical spiritual base will protect society from all fissiparous tendencies and group or clan sentiments which create shackles of narrow-mindedness. Spirituality does not recognize any unnatural distinctions between human beings. It stands for evolution and elevation and not for superstition or pessimism.
Spiritually oriented cadres will provide a moral check against all forms of exploitation, and propagate moral and spiritual values throughout society according to the maxim, “Self-realization and service to humanity.”
Finally, proper institutions are necessary to reflect the needs and aspirations of the people and work for the cause of human welfare. The need for a world government is already apparent to many people, and in the future, once it is established, its powers should be progressively strengthened. Each socio-economic unit will have to get ample scope for its integrated development within the framework of the world government.
PROUT’s system of socio-economic groupifications is a comprehensive approach to the socio-economic problems confronting society. If people adopt such an approach, society will move along the path of progress with increasing speed, overcoming all bondages and hindrances. Human society will enjoy a bright and glorious future.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, October 1979, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 13, Socio-Economic Groupifications
In the beginning, Master Units were started with a view to developing the fate of the backward and downtrodden classes of society who find no scope to keep pace with the developing world. When Ananda Marga started touching every discipline of life, it was then contemplated to establish the Master Units as the miniature forms of Ananda Marga. As there are different nerve centres in the body which control the function of the different limbs and organs, and which are finally controlled by the mind itself, likewise the Master Units will be treated as the nerve centres of the society. There has to be active representation and participation from all the departments, branches and sub-branches of Ananda Marga in the Master Units. Those who fail in representation will be lost in non-existence.
These miniature forms of Ananda Marga will expand and gradually terminate in the maxiature form and cover the whole universe. Master Units will expand all possible services, particularly in the fields of education, culture, economics and spiritual upliftment. These Master Units will work to improve the fate, first of all human beings, and then of all living beings, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion and national barriers. Humanity knows no artificial barriers. Humanity is the only criteria.
Through Master Units and PROUT, we will elevate the standard of the people in a few months or a few years. We should also serve the people immediately by all-round service. PROUT and all-round service may render temporary service – they move along the flow of life – but our spiritual philosophy is above the flow of life. Hence, with spiritual philosophy as the hub, we are to start as many Master Units as possible. All-round service, PROUT and Master Units are the ways of life.
What are the primary requisites of an ideal Master Unit? There are five, which correspond to the five minimum requirements in PROUT. First, to provide food throughout the year, sufficient local raw materials must be produced through agriculture and scientific farming. These raw materials will provide the basis for industrial units and agro-industries such as dairy farms, horticulture, sericulture, etc. For such industries, you cannot depend on raw material from anywhere else.
Secondly, there should be production of sufficient fibres and fabrics for clothing. For example, fibres from ladies’ fingers, pineapple, sugar beet, banana, basil, cotton, sisal, etc. can be used for clothing.
Thirdly, primary and post-primary schools should be started on all Master Units. Higher education institutions should not be established just now.
Fourthly, general and special medical units should also be established. Special medical centres would accommodate invalid people for a certain periods because Master Units may or may not run big hospitals. Medical units should emphasise alternative medical treatments.
Fifthly, Master Units should undertake schemes to construct houses for extremely poor people. This special housing scheme for the poor must be immediately established.
There is the necessity of starting Master Units in each and every district and block of the world. Master Units will be the biggest structure of Ananda Marga. All Master Units will be the minia ture forms of Ánanda Nagar, and these Master Units will be the main centres for the Ánanda Márgiis. Master Units should be a minimum of five acres. The Saḿskrta name of Master Unit is “Cakranemii” which means “the nucleus of the cakra” (wheel). I want all Master Units to be economically self-sufficient in all respects, because spiritualists should not depend on the wealthy class for money.
There are several common points which should be implemented in all Master Units:
Schools, including primary, post-primary and higher secondary schools.
Hostels, including junior hostels, senior hostels and higher hostels.
Children’s homes, including junior homes, senior homes and students homes.
Besides these common points, there are some special features of Master Units which should also be implemented:
A wheat grinding machine or flour mill to produce flour.
A bakery to produce bread, etc.
A seed bank
A Sulav Biija Vitaran Kendra or Cheap Seed Distribution Centre. The centre will collect good quality seeds and sell them at cheap rates. Seeds may be purchased from local farmers at the end of each harvest, purchased at cheap rates in the market or cultivated, but the centre should provide good quality seeds at cheap rates to the people.
A Free Plant Distribution Centre. This centre will grow plants from seeds and seedlings. The following system should be used to prepare plants for distribution. The seedlings should be grown until they are one and a half feet tall. The plants should then be uprooted and their roots soaked in water for half an hour. Next, the main root of each plant should be cut off one inch below the base of the plant, and the remaining roots should again be soaked in water for ten minutes. The plants should then be planted in a field or packed for distribution. Plants which are prepared in this way will produce large, sweet fruits. The fruits will be better than those produced from seedlings, but not as good as those produced from grafted plants.
Sericulture and silk weaving centre.
Bio-gas plants. This means that there must be a dairy farm. Water hyacinths are also good for producing bio-gas.
An Ideal Farm Training Centre.
A sanctuary. On all our Master Units, only bio-fertilizers like compost, cow dung, neem paste, neem spray, etc. should be used. Chemical fertilizers must be avoided. Our Master Unit program is a combination of oriental sublimity and western dynamicity.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 10 November 1989, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 19, Master Units
Socio-economic units should be formed throughout the world on the basis of the same economic problems, uniform economic potentialities, ethnic similarities, common sentimental legacy and similar geographical features. The whole of India and the entire world can be reorganized into socio-economic units based on these factors. These units should not merely be geographical areas but self-sufficient socio-economic groupifications. The fundamental basis of these groupifications is social, cultural and economic, and not religious or linguistic. Socio-economic units will have to adopt economic decentralization so that the local people will be able to obtain all the requirements necessary for their physical, psychic and spiritual progress. This concept is an important aspect of applied PROUT.
Economic planning will aim to make each socio-economic unit self-sufficient. Information should be collected to facilitate the maximum utilization of the local potentialities such as the geographical resources of the area, including the capacity of the rivers, lakes and canals, and the location of the hills and mountains; the location and amount of mineral, forest and aquatic resources; the agricultural and industrial resources, including the possibilities for agro-industries and agrico-industries; the demography, including the labour skills, health and psychology of the people; the agrarian potential, including the distribution of land for collective needs; and communication. Planning for economic self-sufficiency will have to proceed on the basis of implementing the principles of PROUT by making proper use of this data and information.
In India, as a first step, forty-four socio-economic units may be formed. Many socio-economic units may also be formed all over the world. In most cases, each socio-economic unit will correspond to one political unit, but in some cases more than one socio-economic unit may form one political unit. Each socio-economic unit represents a collection of human beings who want to move together, hence all the people in these units should feel that they are brothers and sisters. Such groupifications can never be ultravires to humanity.
Any non-human or human being who wants to break the solidarity of society must be opposed. You will have to fight against such elements. You will have to fight all antisocial and anti-human forces in Asia, Europe, the world and the entire universe, and you must fight as a single entity. Whenever you fight against inhuman forces, all socio-economic units will fight as one. In this fight, you must fight for all the suppressed and oppressed people of the world.“…
…”Geo-racial conditions produce changes in the vocal cords and other centres or plexi, and consequently the entire pronunciation and other items of language change. Thus, while no language should be suppressed and cultural expression must always be encouraged, language alone is not a sound basis upon which to demarcate socio-economic units or build an integrated society.
To ensure socio-economic development, several additional points will also have be considered in the course of economic planning. For example, people who have to travel to other regions to find employment face various difficulties. Often they have to travel long distances, involving considerable expenditure, and there is the unnecessary burden of maintaining two establishments. Generally, it is preferable if people do not leave their own area to find employment. There is enough scope for creating full employment in every socio-economic unit.
The drainage of money from one region to another must also be checked, otherwise the per capita income in a socio-economic unit cannot increase. Every socio-economic unit should demand the cent per cent utilization of state or central revenue raised in its area till the per capita income is on par with the most developed area in the country. Stopping the drainage of money from a socio-economic unit is the most practical and courageous approach to uprooting exploitation. However, the present leaders will never dare adopt this approach.
To fulfil the mutual needs among socio-economic units, the barter system should be encouraged. For undeveloped and developing countries, the export system may encourage unfair competition, drain scarce resources and lead to exploitation.
PROUT advocates the abolition of income tax. In India today if income tax is abolished and excise duty on excisable commodities is increased by only ten percent, there will be no loss of government revenue. When there is no income tax, nobody will try to accumulate black money. All money will be white money. As a result there will be economic solidarity, an increase in trade and commerce, more investment, more employment and an improvement in the position of foreign exchange. Intellectuals should demand the abolition of income tax.
In addition, there should be free education for all students up to the highest degree, guaranteed employment for all youth, irrigation facilities for all farmers, and cheap rations for all labourers – that is, rations which are cheaper than the present ration rate for all essential commodities such as rice, pulse, flour, sugar and cooking oil.
PROUT’s fundamental policy is that it is against small states because they become taxing and burdensome to the citizens, but in certain circumstances the formation of small states may be justified. For example, a state in a federal system which is not self-sufficient urgently needs developmental programmes, and to materialize these, it may demand a separate allocation of funds in the federal budget. If any state finds that obstacles are being created from some quarter in materializing its developmental programmes, it will have no other alternative but to demand the formation of a separate state.
The sizes of PROUT’s socio-economic units are ever expanding. Smaller units will merge together to form bigger ones. A day may come when all of Southeast Asia will become one unit. The following factors provide the basis for socio-economic units to merge together – economic parity, cultural mixing, communication facilities and administrative efficiency.
Lastly, geo-psychological characteristics should also be considered in socio-economic planning. For example, in India people living in east wet areas tend to be weak and lethargic, while those living in west dry areas tend to be strong and active. This may be called the “East Wet Theory”. Such characteristics are not caused by individual strengths or weaknesses but are the result of geo-psychological factors. The Punjabis live in a dry western region and are physically strong and hard working. The Assamese live in a wet eastern region and are physically weak and lethargic. Such factors should be given due consideration when formulating socio-economic plans.
The applied side of PROUT is based on universal sentiments and not geo-political patriotism, as are other theories and philosophies.
While such theories encourage enmity and rivalry, PROUT’s socio-economic units will all work together and cooperate with each other.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, November, 1979, ElEdit 7, Proutist Economics, Developmental Planning
“The first step to decentralized planning is to make an economic plan according to the needs of the lowest level. Block-wise planning should be the most basic level of planning. The aim of the planners should be to make each block economically sound so that the entire socio-economic unit will be self-sufficient. Only then will a county or federation become economically strong and developed in the real sense. This approach to planning is the special, unique feature of PROUT’s economic decentralization.
The question is, how can decentralization be implemented? What exactly will be the procedure or basis for creating socio-economic units? According to PROUT self-sufficient socio-economic zones or units should be established throughout the world. These units should be formed on the basis of the following factors – same economic problems, uniform economic potentiality, ethnic similarity, same sentimental legacy, and similar geographical features. Based on these factors, the whole of India and the entire world can be reorganized into socio-economic units. These units would not merely be geographical areas but also socio-economic areas. The basic consideration is social, cultural and economic and not religious or linguistic. This concept of establishing strong, self-sufficient socio-economic units is an important aspect of applied PROUT.
The justification for establishing socio-economic units throughout the world lies in the fact that any attempt to develop an area economically must start at the grassroots level. That is, the direction of economic development should be from the bottom to the top, not from the top to the bottom. The latter approach is impractical and a utopian myth.
Each socio-economic unit should prepare its own developmental programme and for this several factors need to be considered. These include natural resources, topography, river systems, cultural conditions, communication and industrial and developmental schemes or projects. These factors will enable a unit to facilitate proper planning and development to become economically self-sufficient.
Up until now no serious effort has been made by the rulers of India for the economic development of the country, either in the pre-independence period or in the post-independence period. The post-independence period can be divided into three main phases – the Nehru era, the Gandhi era and the Janata government. All these three eras came within the jurisdiction of Vaeshyan or capitalist rule and they all had one thing in common – they had a soft state policy towards the capitalists. The Janata government represented a counter movement within the Vaeshyan age. It was neither a Vipra or intellectual revolution nor a Vipra counter-evolution, but simply a movement of Vaeshyan mentality. It was an intellectual reformist approach motivated by Vaeshyan interests. To strengthen its position it tried to give the Vaeshyas better scope to chew the bones and marrow of the Shúdras, Kśatriyas and Vipras. As it was a counter movement it was short-lived and brought Shúdra revolution nearer. Consequently, there was no economic development during that period. Hence, for the Proutists there was no alternative but to form socio-economic groups.
As far as India is concerned, about 44 socio-economic groups may be formed. In addition many socio-economic groups may be formed al over the world. In most cases each socio-economic group would form one socio-economic unit, but in some cases one unit may consist of more than one socio-economic group. These groups represent a collection of human beings who want to move together, and all the people in these groups are our brothers and sisters. Thus such groupifications can never be ultravires to humanity. Any human being or non-human being who wants to break the solidarity of society must be opposed, and you will have to fight against such elements. When you have to fight antisocial and anti-human forces in Asia, Europe, the world or the entire universe, you must fight as a single unified entity. That is, whenever you have to fight against inhuman forces all the socio-economic groups of the world are one, and in this fight you must fight for the oppressed and suppressed people of the globe.
Some vested interests may try and brand PROUT’s applied approach as parochial, but is this justified? The three bases of PROUT’s socio-economic groups are cultural, social and economic. Culture denotes all sorts of human expressions. The best possible means of communicating these human expressions is through one’s mother tongue as this is most natural. If people’s natural expression through their mother tongue is hampered then inferiority complexes will grow in their minds. This will encourage a defeatist mentality which ultimately leads to psycho-economic exploitation. An example is the imposition of the Hindi language by a section of Indian leaders as the national language of India. Hindi is not the natural language of the people in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc. There are many local dialects in these regions which need immediate encouragement. To utilize the sentimental legacy of the people, people must raise their socio-economic consciousness, know who their exploiters are, expose psycho-economic exploitation and become imbued with fighting spirit. While you should encourage the use of all tongues, this does not imply opposing the study of other languages. Language in itself is of secondary importance; of primary importance is the cultural and socio-economic consequences of linguistic imperialism.
A language usually changes every 1000 years and a script every 2000 years. There was no script at the time of the Vedas. The composition of the Rk Veda started 15,000 years ago and ended 5,000 years ago, thus the entire composition was done over 10,000 years. In those days people used to write on the skin of sheep. Later people started to write on papyrus, and still later papyrus became paper. Bangla was written with wooden pens and Oriya with iron pens. To save the paper from being cut by the iron pens, Oriya letters became round.
The seed of expression of all languages is the same. Geo-racial differences were responsible for the emergence of the different races. The different races have developed numerous languages. The four races in the world are the Austrics who originated from Asia, the Negroids who originated from Africa, the Mongoloids who originated from Mongolia, and the Aryans who originated from central Asia. The original home of the Aryans was southern Russian, east of the Ural Mountains, now known as the Caucasus. The Muslim land of the USSR includes Uzbekistan, Tazakiestan, Azarbaizan, etc. Today Aryans can be divided into three groups – Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. Nordic Aryans belong to Scandinavian countries and they have red complexions and golden hair. Alpine Aryans belong to Germany and the surrounding areas. They have a reddish-white complexion, blackish-blue hair and blue eyes. Mediterranean Aryans belong to southern Europe and have white complexion, black hair and black eyes. Geo-racial conditions may produce changes in the vocal cords and other centres or plexi. Consequently, the entire pronunciation and other items of language may change. Hence, language alone is not a sound basis upon which to integrate society or demarcate socio-economic units.
To ensure the social-economic development of a region, several additional problems must be considered and include the following. The first concerns those problems arising from the inconvenience faced by the many people who have to travel to other regions to find employment. There should be no need for people to leave their own area to find employment as there is enough scope for creating employment in every region. Furthermore, when people travel to other regions there is the unnecessary economic burden of maintaining two establishments.
Secondly, to ensure the socio-economic development of each unit, the drainage of money from one region to another must be checked. If the drainage of money is not checked, the per capita income in a socio-economic unit cannot increase. For this reason every socio-economic group should demand the cent percent utilization of state or central revenue raised in its area till the per capita income comes on par with the most developed area in the country. Stopping the drainage of money from a region is the most practical and courageous approach to uprooting exploitation. However, present leaders will never dare to adopt this approach.
Thirdly, to fulfil the mutual needs between regions, PROUT encourages the barter system in preference to the export system. The export system ultimately becomes commercial and competitive and leads to exploitation.
Another measure that PROUT advocates is the abolition of income tax. If income tax is abolished and excise duty on excisable commodities is increased by only 10%, there will be no loss of government revenue. When there is no income tax, nobody will try to accumulate black money. All money will be white money and as a result there will be economic solidarity, an increase in trade and commerce, more investment, more employment and an improvement in the position of foreign revenue. Intellectuals should take up the demand for the abolition of income tax.
In addition, there should be free education for all students up to the highest degree, guaranteed employment for all youth, irrigation facilities for all farmers, and cheap rations – that is, cheaper than the present ration rate for all essential commodities like rice, pulse, flour, sugar, vegetable oil and cooking oil – for all labourers.
PROUT’s fundamental policy is that it is against small states as these become taxing and burdensome to the citizens. Socio-economic units should demand separate development projects, and in order to materialize this they may also demand the separate allocation of resources in the budget. However, if any unit finds that obstacles are being created from some quarters in materializing its development projects, that unit will have no alternative but to demand the formation of a separate unit
The size of PROUT’s socio-economic units is ever-expanding. Smaller units will merge together to form bigger ones. A day may come when the entire South-East Asia will become one unit. The following four factors provide the basis for socio-economic units to merge together in the future – diminishing economic disparity amongst the units, the development of science and communications, administrative efficiency and socio-cultural mixing.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, June 1979, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 15, Some Aspects of Socio-Economic Planning
“There is only one way to stop economic exploitation and alleviate the plight of the common people, and that is to implement a policy of decentralized economy in all the sectors of the economy. Successful planning can never be done by sitting in an air conditioned office thousands of miles away from the place where planning is to be undertaken. Centralized economy can never solve the economic problems of remote villages. Economic planning must start from the lowest level, where the experience, expertise and knowledge of the local people can be harnessed for the benefit of all the members of a socio-economic unit. All types of economic problems can be solved only when economic structures are built on the basis of decentralized economy.
The basic question is how to remove the unhealthy influence of centralized economy. The real issue is, who will bell the cat? If the vested interests fail to be guided by righteous intellect, then people will have to take matters into their own hands. They will have to create circumstantial pressure from all sides, uniting around the slogan: “Abolish centralized economy to end exploitation; establish decentralized economy.”
Decentralized economy is the only way that people can attain all-round welfare because it will not only guarantee economic prosperity, but also pave the way for individual and collective psycho-spiritual progress. Once people’s mundane problems have been solved, they will have greater opportunities to develop their potentialities in the psychic and spiritual spheres. With the establishment of decentralized economy, economic and psycho-economic exploitation will be eradicated, the gap between the rich and poor will be minimized and individual and collective welfare will be greatly enhanced. This in turn will create greater opportunities for the psychic and spiritual progress of all members of society.
Principles of Decentralized Economy
The first principle of decentralized economy is that 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. Local raw materials must be fully utilized to produce all kinds of commodities necessary for the economic development of a socio-economic unit.
Local people are those who have merged their individual socio-economic interests with the socio-economic interests of the socio-economic unit they live in. Clearly, this concept of local people has nothing to do with physical complexion, race, caste, creed, language or birth place. The fundamental issue is whether or not each person or family has identified their individual socio-economic interests with the collective interests of the concerned socio-economic unit. Those who have not done so should be branded as outsiders.
No outsider should be allowed to interfere in local economic affairs or in the system of production and distribution, otherwise a floating population will develop, causing the outflow of economic wealth from the local area. If this occurs the area will become vulnerable to outside economic exploitation and decentralized economy will be undermined.“…
…”The local administration will also have to arrange for the supply of sufficient power to facilitate industrial production. Every region in a socio-economic unit must strive to be self-sufficient in power generation. The local administration will have to supply locally generated power such as solar energy, thermal energy, bio-gas, hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, pneumatic energy, electromagnetic energy and tidal power, or any other power which is easily available locally. The generation of power is a key industry which should be run on a no profit, no loss basis so that the cost of production is minimized and the purchasing capacity of the people is increased. For example, if batteries are produced through cottage industries, power should be supplied on a no profit, no loss basis, but the battery producers will be able to sell their batteries at a rational profit. Here the power that is used to manufacture the batteries is not an industrial commodity but a raw material. The power for such things as transportation, communication, schools, colleges and hospitals should also be supplied on a no profit, no loss basis to maintain social dynamism. The immediate government or the state government will have to take the responsibility to supply power as a key industry.
All kinds of industrial activities from key industries to cottage industries should be organized with the cooperation of the local population. Care should also be taken so that private enterprises are set up by the local people. Local people must be given preference in employment, and all local people should be locally employed. If this policy is followed, there will be no surplus or deficit labour among the local people, and if many people do come from outside areas, they will not find a place in the local economy. Where a floating population exists in a particular region, the outflow of capital remains unchecked and the economic development of the area is undermined.
Trade in a decentralized economy should be organized by distributing commodities through consumers cooperatives. There will be no income tax, but there should be a tax levied on the production of each commodity. Commodities should be exported from one region or socio-economic unit to other regions or units through cooperatives.
In the decentralized economy of PROUT, exporting local raw materials is not supported. Only finished goods should be exported under certain circumstances. After all the requirements of the local people in a socio-economic unit have been met, the surplus goods may be exported, but only to a socio-economic unit which has no immediate opportunity or potential to produce them, in order to meet the requirements of the people in that unit. And even then, the whole transaction of importation and exportation should be undertaken directly by cooperatives, and the exportation of commodities must not be motivated by profit. If there are insufficient raw materials in any socio-economic unit to meet the minimum requirements of the local people, the necessary raw materials may be imported from another socio-economic unit providing it can be carefully verified that the raw materials in the latter unit are surplus. Free trade should be encouraged once self-sufficiency is attained, as this will help facilitate increased prosperity and encourage economic parity among socio-economic units, and lead to the formation of larger socio-economic units.
Another important characteristic of decentralized economy is that money will always remain in circulation, hence the economy will move with accelerating speed. The value of money depends on the extent of its circulation. The more frequently money changes hands, the greater its economic value. The greater the value of money, the greater the prosperity in individual and collective life, and the greater the opportunities for all-round welfare.
There is a close relationship between the economic prosperity of people and their psychic and cultural development. Improvements in individual and collective life will lead to the all-round welfare of people. If local people do not develop a sense of self-confidence in their economic activities, then they become mentally weak, and this inherent weakness becomes an impediment to their economic well-being. Such a community will become an easy victim of economic, political and psycho-economic exploitation by vested interests. This unhealthy situation must be firmly resisted. Thus, the local language is to be used in all local dealings and transactions. That is, the local language should be used in the administration, the education system, the economy, and in cultural activities. All official and non-official bodies and offices of a particular socio-economic unit should use the local language as the medium of communication.
The overall well-being of society is the ultimate goal of decentralized economy. This is a comprehensive ideal and should be established in each and every socio-economic unit. It will bring about economic prosperity as well as ensure greater opportunities for the psycho-spiritual elevation of all members of society.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 16 March 1982, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, Decentralized Economy – 1
In nearly all countries of the world economically privileged or advanced groups are mercilessly exploiting other economically backward groups and sucking their vitality, gagging their voice and closing all the doors of their future progress. To overcome this tyranny and exploitation, movements will have to be launched for those suppressed people so that they can stride boldly forward, fight against all exploitation and attain economic independence. Nobody can deny the need of such an approach, of such movements, because such an approach is truly humanistic. If such an approach is not adopted, it be something unnatural and anti-human. In fact, to oppose such movements amounts to working as an agent to protect the interests of the exploitative and reactionary forces.
PROUT always stands for the cause of exploited people, irrespective of race, nation, religion etc., and always opposes all types of exploitation. But as poverty is the main problem in the world today, PROUT gives top priority to opposing economic exploitation, as this affects the livelihood and existence of the people.
To solve this problem and other pressing socio-economic problems, popular movements based on anti-exploitation and universal sentiments should be launched throughout the world. Such movements should oppose all forms of economic, psychic, cultural and psycho-economic exploitation. In addition they should undertake appropriate practical programs to enhance the all-round welfare of the people.
In order to root out exploitation and build a just and benevolent society, the following six points should be borne in mind.
100% Employment for Local People
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 or not people have merged their individual interests with their socio-economic unit, regardless of their colour, creed, race, mother tongue, birthplace, etc. Those who earn their livelihood in a particular 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 down 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, labour 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 in order 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 labour trends. In India, for example, there is surplus manual labour in North Bihar, which is based upon an agricultural economy, and surplus intellectual labour 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 labour. So manual labour intensive industries are required to create employment. In some instances where deficit labour 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 selfreliance. 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.
Maximum Industrial Development
The second point of PROUT’s approach is that maximum industries should be developed in the local area according to the availability of raw materials or local consumption. This principle will develop the economic potential of a socioeconomic unit by placing economic power into the hands of the local people and divesting outsiders of their control over the economy. In a economy most industries will be run as agricultural, producer or consumer cooperatives creating a new kind of cooperative spirit or cooperative dynamo. Such an approach will place economic power into the hands of those who work physically or intellectually for proper production, stripping capitalists of their exploitative economic power. Thus maximum industrial development will be assured.
Several corollaries arise from this second principle. First, industries should utilize locally available local raw materials and should not import raw materials from outside the socioeconomic unit. Raw materials are the basic ingredients or resources necessary to make finished products. The tyre industry, for example, requires rubber plantations as rubber sap is the basic raw material for this industry. If the topography of the local area favours the ample growth of rubber trees, then industries may be created around this raw material. Or, if alternative synthetic materials are available, a synthetic tyre industry may be developed.
There are several reasons why industries should utilize locally available raw materials. First, not all areas have the same socio-economic potential. Different areas will naturally be conducive to producing different kinds of raw materials, as in the case of plant-based raw materials. Industries based on locally available raw materials can produce commodities cheaply, be located near ready supplies of raw materials, and ensure their self-reliance. These advantages are not apparent where there is a dependence on outside raw materials.
Secondly, raw material producers, especially producer cooperatives, will prosper as there will be ready markets for their products.
Thirdly, industries will feel secure when they know that sufficient raw materials are available to supply their needs, and they will be able to plan their future production efficiently.
Fourthly, many large capitalists deliberately influence the economic and political policies of a local area by preventing the growth of local industries based on the local raw materials. They further exploit the local people by selling manufactured goods in the local markets which are made from locally produced raw materials. Australia, for example, imports many manufactured goods from Japan which are produced from Australian raw materials. Encouraging the growth of local industries based on local raw materials will terminate the dominance individual and collective capitalists exercise over the local markets, ending the drainage of capital vital for the local area’s economic growth.
A second corollary of the second point is that local raw materials should not be exported – only manufactured goods should be exported. Local raw material prices in the export market are subject to manipulation and erratic fluctuations as they are currently traded through speculative commodity markets which are controlled by vested interests. To root out dishonesty from the field of trade, free trade should be established throughout the world as far as possible.
Manufactured goods, on the other hand, are generally subject to less price manipulation and command better prices than raw materials. By manufacturing locally finished products, a socioeconomic unit can conserve its reserve bullion and improve the purchasing capacity of the local people.
A third corollary is that if no potential exists to produce the manufactured goods required by industry in the local area, only then should the importation of such goods be allowed. Importation of manufactured goods means that local capital is being transferred to another socio-economic unit which has produced the product. The drainage of capital is always detrimental to the economic growth of a socio-economic unit, therefore unnecessary importation should always be discouraged. Barter agreements should be arranged between trading units so that no net loss occurs to either of the trading partners. Barter agreements in foreign trade are especially beneficial for those socio-economic units which have very few commodities to sell but a large number of commodities to buy, and their saleable commodities, though few in number, are large in quantity.
Thus, where there is a plentiful supply of local raw materials, industries can be developed for local demand according to local consumption, and if applicable the surplus may be exported. The availability of raw materials will ensure the long term viability of local industries.
Avoid Importing Outside Products
The third point of PROUT’s approach is that outside finished products which can be locally produced should not be imported. This point implies that the local people should support their local industries by purchasing their own finished products. They should buy the finished goods of the local industries even if initially they may be of lesser quality than the finished goods manufactured outside the socioeconomic unit, as this will ensure the continued economic viability and growth of the industries in the unit. With continued local support, the local industries will develop to a stage when they will be able to produce goods of better quality. But, if due to economic, political or psycho-economic exploitation, people purchase finished goods made outside their socio-economic unit rather than those made locally, then local developing industries may be forced to close down creating unemployment and other social and economic problems. Thus, people’s sentiments should be aroused so that they buy locally produced products rather than outside finished products wherever possible. To achieve this, popular movements should be started so that the economic awareness of local people is increased.
When the British were ruling India, India imported salt even though the potential for manufacturing local salt existed in India. The Indian leaders then organized a civil disobedience movement and proceeded to make their own salt, boycotting British made salt. This movement caught the imagination of the people and won their support, thus the Indian people became conscious of British exploitation. This movement brought down the price of salt, an indispensable part of most Indian dishes, and provided employment by building up the local salt industry. It also saved the country from the drainage of wealth which previously went into the coffers of the British salt manufacturers. In addition, it heightened the consciousness of the Indian people and helped polarize the population into the pro and anti-British camps.
The Local Language as the Medium of Instruction
The fourth point of PROUT’s approach is that the medium of instruction from primary to tertiary level should be in the local language. The sum total of human expression is culture, and language is the best medium to express human culture. While different socio-economic groups should encourage every language, each socio-economic unit should use the local language to inspire self-confidence and self-respect amongst the local people. Encouraging a positive cultural identity is an important ingredient in the socioeconomic development of the local area, and is an essential factor in generating a sense of affinity and unity amongst the people.
The use of non-local languages as the medium of instruction only results in the suppression and subjugation of the local language and inevitably means the suppression of the local culture. This in turn leads to psychic demoralization, inferiority complexes and a defeatist mentality. Whenever the sentimental legacy of a group of people is undermined, they become easy prey to the economic, political and psycho-economic exploitation of vested interests. Such a strategy of cultural suppression was adopted by the English, French, Dutch, Spanish, American and other colonial powers. If local people develop a sublime awareness of their cultural heritage they can readily throw off all psychic inferiority complexes which prevent them from attaining socio-economic self-reliance.
The introduction of the local language as the medium of instruction from primary to tertiary level will also put the local people in control of their educational institutions, thus ridding them of those cultural prejudices, biases and teachings which perpetuate subjugation. In Bengal and Chattisgarhi, for example, many of the educational institutions are controlled by non-local people who have migrated from outside the region and who still maintain their cultural prejudices. The same situation occurs in many undeveloped and developing countries.
The Local Language as the Primary Means of Communication
The fifth point of PROUT’s approach is that the local language should be the medium of communication in governmental, and non-governmental institutions and offices. When the British were ruling India, they concentrated their economic activities in a few centers like Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras. The indigenous capitalist class, who were in collusion with the Britishers, usually brought in labourers and managers from outside the local area to disrupt the local economy and make it amenable to their control. The English language was imposed on local people, and the British administration went to great lengths to train up tens of thousands of Indian clerks in the English system of education to ensure British cultural dominance of the Indian economy.
So, if the local people demand that the local language should be the medium of expression in the workplace, the nonlocal people who control the local industries can be forced out of the local area, creating more opportunities for the local people.
Local Socio-Economic Demands
The final point of the approach of the socio-economic movements of PROUT is that particular demands pertaining to the local area should be implemented. The local situation should be carefully studied and programmes should be adopted as per the requirements of the particular locality. For the socio-economic groups in Germany, Ireland and Korea for example, the major focus should be on the unification of their divided nations. In other socio-economic groups, local people may demand the construction of bridges and roads to make raw materials more accessible as the first step in developing new industries. And in those places which are dependent on agriculture, small scale irrigation projects may be necessary to increase the availability of irrigation water and thus increase the number of crops grown per year. Thus, this last point includes all the local needs necessary to expedite the socio-economic development of the local area.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 31 December 1984, Prout in a Nutshell Part 13, Calcutta Socio-Economic Movements
To materialize the above economic programme, PROUT advocates a new and unique approach to decentralization based on the formation of socio-economic units throughout the world. Socio-economic units should be formed on the basis of factors such as common economic problems; uniform economic potentialities; ethnic similarities; common geographical features; and people’s sentimental legacy, which arises out of common socio-cultural ties like language and cultural expression. Each socio-economic unit will be completely free to chalk out its own economic plan and the methods of its implementation.
Within each socio-economic unit there will also be decentralized planning, which is called “block-level planning” in PROUT. Block-level planning boards will be the lowest level planning bodies.
One political unit such as a federal or unitary state may contain a number of socio-economic units. For example, the state of Bihar in India can be divided into five socio-economic units – Angadesh, Magadh, Mithila, Bhojpuri and Nagpuri. Based on the above factors the whole of India may be divided into forty-four socio-economic units. These units must be guaranteed full freedom to achieve economic self-sufficiency through the implementation of their own economic planning and policies.
If the local people in these units organize large-scale programmes for their all-round socio-economic and cultural liberation, there will be a widespread socio-economic awakening in the whole of India. Regardless of whether they are rich or poor, old or young, educated or illiterate, if the local people are inspired by anti-exploitation and universal sentiments, they will be able to start powerful movements for socio-economic liberation. When people merge their individual socio-economic interests with the collective socio-economic interest, the outflow of economic wealth from a region will cease and exploitation will be completely rooted out. The right of full employment for all local people will be guaranteed, and the employment of local people will take precedence over non-local people.
Where there is no proper economic development, surplus labour develops. In fact all undeveloped economic regions suffer from surplus labour, and when the surplus labour migrates to other regions the region remains undeveloped forever. In areas of surplus labour provision should be made to immediately employ the local people.
While providing employment to local people, local sentiments should also be taken into consideration. Maximum agro-industries and agrico-industries should be established on the basis of the socio-economic potential of the region, and various other types of industries should be established according to the collective needs. This approach will create enormous opportunities for new employment. Through such an employment policy, increasing the standard of living of the local people will be possible.
In a decentralized socio-economic system the modernization of industry and agriculture can be easily introduced, and the goods that are produced will be readily available in the market. As each socio-economic unit develops its economic potential, per capita income disparities among different regions will decline and the economic position of undeveloped regions can be raised to that of developed regions. When every region becomes economically self-reliant, the whole country will rapidly achieve economic self-sufficiency. Economic prosperity will be enjoyed by each and every person.“- Sarkar, Prabhat, June 1979, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 13, Some Specialities of Prout’s Economic System
To materialize the concept of universalism a World Government is necessary. This World Government should be a confederation of all the federated states of the world. These federated states will consist of self-sufficient economic units or zones formed entirely on socio-economic and geographical considerations. Economically developed areas have a tendency to exploit economically undeveloped areas and hence federated states should be formed of different units. If we take a concrete example inside India, Vidarbhga, being a Marathi-speaking area, does not want to remain a part of Maharasthra and wants to become a separate state. Another important example is Azarbaizan. The Persian portion of Azarbaizan agitated to merge with the Soviet portion of Azarbaizan to ensure economic development. The different units or zones formed in this way may be redefined and rename for administrative convenience. These units may have certain common factors and these common factors will unite them into federations.
In the initial stage, the World Government will be a law-making body and the different federations will have executive powers to implement the laws passed by the World Government. The federations may or may not fully materialize the laws of the confederation but they must not go against them. The confederation will, however, have some executive power for limited and defined purposes, namely, for maintaining inter-federal peace and tranquillity and for settling inter-planetary disputes. This will mean the maintenance of a world militia under the full control of the confederation. The federation and the units will also maintain a police force to ensure internal law and order.
The economic units or zones will have dictatorial boards. These boards will form one higher board which will be called federated boards. These federated boards will govern the different federations. The collection of these federated boards is called the confederated board or body. This body will look after the confederation as a whole, but will not ignore the interests of any federation.“- Sarkar, Prabhat, July 1961, Ranchi, Prout in a Nutshell Part 15, Talks on Prout