Prout Part 11: Liberation from Socio-Economic Darwinism



"Under a Proutist system, the basic necessities are guaranteed to all. It is the bottom line of a Proutist economy."

Guaranteed Basic Necessities: 

The most fundamental feature of the Proutist economic system is that the basic necessities of life are guaranteed for all. Prout recognises the five basic necessities of life. These are food, clothing, housing, medical care, and education. In addition, supplemental necessities are the guaranteed availability of energy, transportation and water. 

In this age of rapid scientific advancement, it is irrational that human beings should be deprived of their existential needs while a few amass great hoards of wealth. Hence, the provision of Universal Basic Assets is both an individual and collective responsibility. The 'Neo-Humanist Social Contract' recognises Cosmic Inheritance and kinship of all living beings. 


Growing Basket of Universal Basic assets:


The determination of basic necessities should be done progressively; there must be a continual adjustment of the definition of basic necessities depending upon the resources and scientific standard of the time and place. For example, at a time of virtual Meetings, Work and Learning, - Personal cyber connectivity becomes a basic necessity. 


Participatory Sharing Economy: 


The basic necessities are not to be handed out by the central government, similar to the current welfare system of liberal democratic countries. Instead, local planning should guarantee good jobs to enable one to earn the required purchasing power. The guarantee of employment that provides adequate purchasing power is essential to Prout. 


Only as a special contingency, or for those deemed mentally or physically disabled, could something resemble the welfare system of the liberal democratic countries.


Liberation of Intellect :

There must be a guarantee of the production, supply and necessary purchasing capacity for the basic necessities of life. It will assure everyone's security on the existential level and free up the tremendous psychic energy presently bound up in fear, insecurity, and the struggle for the bare necessities. We can harness this mental energy for the welfare and development of individuals in all spheres of life and thus achieve a quantum leap in the quality of social life. 


Increasing Purchasing Capacity: 


In a Proutist framework, the economy will take the people's purchasing capacity to measure economic advancement. To continually increase purchasing capacity, several factors are required. These include the guaranteed availability of basic goods and services, stable prices, progressive and periodic wage increases, and increasing collective wealth and productivity.

"In a Proutist framework, the economy will take the people's purchasing capacity to measure economic advancement."

Presently, in capitalistic countries, there is neither a guarantee of the basic necessities of life nor a limit put on the wealth that an individual or corporate entity may accumulate. Moreover, physical resources are finite, creating an increasing divide between the haves and the have-nots. Under a Proutist system, the basic necessities are guaranteed to all. It is the bottom line of a Proutist economy. 

Minimum Rises with the Maximum:

To accomplish this, Prout recommends a cap on the wealth accumulation by an individual or corporate entity. By tying these two incomes together, society will work to raise the living standards of its poorest members and guarantee them more of life's amenities as the collective wealth of society increases.

                                                 

PROUT holds that the more meritorious, skilful, or service-oriented people should receive greater remuneration than the average worker. It will encourage people to do better and develop themselves and their skills. Meritorious people will earn more than common people, and this earning will include their maximum amenities. Amenities include goods and services which increase one's living standard and quality of life.
"So long as the environment's needs are also accounted for, what constitutes both the minimum basic necessities and the maximum amenities should be ever-increasing."
Maximum Amenities:

The economy should also provide common people with more and more natural amenities to make their lives easier. While there will always be a gap between the maximum amenities of the common people and the meritorious, there should nonetheless be a constant effort to reduce this gap. 


If the maximum amenities of meritorious people become excessively high, then the basic necessities basket of common people should be immediately improved or increased. For example, if a person with special qualities has a motorbike and an ordinary person has a bicycle, there is a balanced adjustment. But if the person with special qualities has a car, we should immediately try to provide the common people with motorbikes.

So long as the environment's needs are accounted for, what constitutes both the basic necessities basket and the maximum amenities should be ever-increasing. 

Automation and Massive Unemployment:

World Bank Research found that automation threatens 69% of the jobs in India. Currently, there is a loss of 550 jobs a day in India due to automation. 

PwC Report finds that 38% of US jobs will be automated and taken over by robots by 2030. Further, 47% of jobs are at high risk of automation.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned "up to 15 million of the current jobs in Britain - almost half of the 31.8 million workforce - could be replaced by robots over the coming years... entire professions such as accounting would likely disappear.

In Australia, The Committee for Economic Development in Australia considers 60% of all jobs in rural and regional Australia are at risk by 2030. 

Ruchir Sharma, the chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, argues that "before long economists [will] be worrying about a global shortage of robots" (Sharma, 2016). 

Job losses and social conflict:

Today, with the dramatic developments in Artificial intelligence, i.e. the Fourth industrial revolution, Work as we know it will disappear since humanity will live in abundance. Blue and white-collar jobs will disappear. Artificial intelligence could dramatically improve the economy and aspects of everyday life, but we need to invent ways to make sure everyone benefits.



The UBI Story:

The idea of UBI has been in and out of the news since becoming a favoured cause for many high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook cofounders Mark Zuckerberg and (separately) Chris Hughes, and Singularity University’s Peter Diamandis. They proposed a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to solve the job losses and social conflict that would be wrought by automation and artificial intelligence—the very technologies their own companies create. 


The UBI pros and cons are being debated. However, stand-alone UBI is only an ad hoc attempt to address Distributive justice temporarily. It may save the flawed imbalanced Productive system of the centralised capitalistic economy a little longer. However, it is open to the charge that its advocates are primarily interested in preempting the potential social unrest and conflict arising from the exploitation in all the spheres - physical, mental and spiritual- by the current political economy of the Vaeshyan era.


Several countries have trialled the UBI project and majorly concluded that it promises to deliver social welfare but has abandoned them on the plea that the governments cannot bear the fiscal burden.        


Distributional Challenge of Abundance:


Massive unemployment and the increasing vulnerability of human society will grow exponentially in the current decade. Several Central Banks have predicted colossal job losses with the transfer of 40-70 per cent of professions to AI and Robotics by the year 2030.  


The Prout System provides solutions for an equitable, sustainable, shared production and distribution of all the necessities of human life. It nurtures a vibrant human society. A new civilisational paradigm of Prout economy based on Coordinated Cooperation for progressive utilisation of all kinds of available resources would secure this Future.


Prout economy is future-ready that addresses the totality of human nature, that is, - Asti (existence), Bhati (expansion of mind) and Anandam (happiness). Its design recognises and provides all living beings - the finite physical and infinite mental pabulum (food) to enable individuals and collective to march on the path of Bhagavat Dharma, that is, the innate property of Anandam or bliss. 


Thus, while the available finite physical resources are regulated, humans are goaded to cultivate with complete unrestricted freedom - the cultural assets (Language, traditions, Arts, bio-psychic Tantra)), which afford unlimited mental pabulum for the satisfaction of the individual and the community.   

Liberation from Socio-Economic Darwinism:

As the basic necessities are fulfilled and the supply of the maximum amenities increases, the struggle for daily subsistence will gradually decrease. People's lives will become easier and more enjoyable. For this reason, Prout guarantees the minimum basic necessities and the maximum amenities to all.


In the physical and psychic realms, the movement toward satisfying human wants and needs should be never-ending. But, insofar as everything in these realms is limited, the hunger of human beings will remain unsatisfied, and we will always want more. This longing for more can only be completely satisfied in the spiritual realm.

Subjective Approach Through Objective Adjustment:

A synthetic model can evolve, for both immediate and long-term issues of a workless world, from the concepts of UBI, Negative Income tax model of Funding those falling below the Exemption limit, and other innovations, to fulfil the Prout's System of Guarantee of basic necessities. It would be following the Proutist principle of 'Subjective approach through Objective adjustment'.


"The introduction of a successful, sustainable UBA model would depend on its design and the design of the wider policy landscape in which it operates, that is, the eco-system of the Prout economy. It will have the following features.

 

• Harmonious, altruistic society


• Fosters inclusion, drives innovation and improved environmental outcomes 


• Contributory democracy


• Shifting shared value ethos from capitalism to social development and equality 


• Reformed welfare system and tax system


• Non-work contributions valued and measured 


• Bi-partisan support


• Rise of Cooperatives 


This scenario envisages that all citizens will have the opportunity to experience Zuckerberg's 'cushion for new ideas', driving innovation, peace, true environmental stewardship, and altruistic behaviours with this redistribution. 



It also envisages a modified UBI, which is not unconditional but contingent on those who could work (but cannot secure work), delivering a social contribution of some kind. 


An approach like this could balance the preservation of entrepreneurial capitalism (agency, innovation and social mobility it enables) with a reformed welfare system. Moreover, it could reconcile the tension between those who work and those who don't - by having those that do not work contributing to social progress in other ways."(Sohail Inayatullah) 

Towards a Spiritual Human Society: 

Only at the point of merger with the Absolute is human hunger satiated. Thus, while the purpose of Prout is to meet human longing in the physical and psychic realms, we must remember that true progress lies in the movement from imperfection to perfection. Therefore, going beyond this psycho-physical world is to go beyond the realm of Prout and enter the world of intuitional or spiritual science.

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(Updated extract: New York Writers Group).

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