People desire liberty; they want unhindered scope for self-development, self-expression, and pursuit of happiness. For liberty to be a meaningful social principle, it cannot be equated with unrestrained license. In any social structure, restraints imposed by custom and law are necessary. But on what basis are such restraints to be established? The proper principle for imposing restraint is that liberty must not extend so far that one person’s actions results in harm to others. While there should be full freedom in the spiritual and mental realms, freedom to acquire wealth in the physical sphere cannot be left unrestrained.
At this point in human existence, there is great need to establish a world confederation. A world governing body, having sovereign authority in certain spheres of life, needs to be evolved. Humanity has no other option if it is to secure a peaceful and prosperous future and life in harmony with the earth. This governing body should have clear authority to intercede in the affairs of nations in order to protect human, cultural and ecosystem rights. It should also coordinate global development and regulate the global economy to promote equity among earth’s peoples.
In a PROUT society the scope of government involvement in social life would diminish, and the state would not be so involved arenas of social life as setting educational agendas, funding and regulating cultural life, administering medical care, creating low cost housing, delivering social services, conducting relief efforts, etc. Functions such as these would handled largely by the institutions of civil society. Civil society would administer these activities through the agency of social boards composed of citizens having expertise and involvement in the concerned spheres of community life.
PROUT offers a new paradigm of development that is guided by fundamental design principles. These principles are based on cardinal human values: a fundamental respect for all living beings and a concern for the welfare and development of all people. The design principles are universal and durable; they reflect, in the socioeconomic realm, the deep patterning of nature.
Nowhere in the present world is there a society guided by a spiritual-centered philosophy. Spiritual-centered philosophies exist, but do not provide the core values nor guide the social outlook of any modern nation. There is, however, growing interest in spirituality, and this shift toward a spiritual orientation to life is having impact on political philosophy. PROUT meets humanity’s need for a post-materialist, spiritual-based social philosophy. It is a social philosophy grounded in expanded humanism, in love, and in hope.
As a comprehensive socioeconomic theory, PROUT deals with the full range of concerns relevant to political philosophy, including: a value base, basic principles of operationalizing the theory, a theory of history, social concepts, a political system, an economic system, an ecological philosophy, a future vision, and a methodology for change.
PROUT is a visionary political philosophy that offers a new paradigm of development. Some distinctive characteristics of this paradigm are presented in this statement.
In political theory, interests that come into opposition are called contradictions. At present, a number of profound contradictions are leading the world toward a time of disruptive change. Without the introduction of a new paradigm of development, the combined impact of these contradictions will create dead-endings in society’s path of advancement. PROUT is a coherent ideological alternative, offering a path of hope at this critical historical juncture.
PROUT is a new socio-economic theory intended to create opportunity for all people to develop and express their potentialities. Rather than focus on critiquing the defects of the dominant paradigm of development, PROUT emphasizes a solution-oriented approach based on a new and empowering vision. It seeks to give humanity a constructive means to move toward a truly sustainable and abundant future. The PROUT paradigm is grounded an emerging worldview of holism. It proposes basic policies and approaches in social, economic, political and cultural spheres of life. And it envisions a means to transition toward its life-promoting paradigm of development.