all areas of life and international relations; therefore looking
at it from the perspective of Yoga (the wisdom of the East, which
in sanskrit means "union") we saw that the main problem
with the prevailing economic system was its violence. Therefore
the idea of an economics of non-violence (Ahimsa) became one of
our main concerns.
Four years of research yielded a four-volume compilation of alternative
strains of economic theory and practices. (See Supplemental
Materials page). Some common themes found were: movements toward
economic decentralization-including local currencies, efforts to
buy and produce goods locally, and regional self-sufficiency; democratic
participation in government and business, with special emphasis
on cooperatives vs. corporations; and conservation of the environment,
best exemplified by Deep Ecology, which recognizes that capitalist
development is extractive and linear, whereas nature is cyclical
and self-renewing. It was inspiring to find so many like-minded
people and groups.
same time, meetings were held with prominent economists in the IADB
and World Bank in Washington, D.C., who were also yoga students of
GCFP's founder and director, Victor (Vyasa) Landa. The goal of this
working group was to identify the flaws of the world's current economic
systems. Some of the members soon realized that the prevailing capitalist
system cannot be modified to become more humane and ethical. It must
be completely replaced, as all its fundamental tenets (i.e. scarcity,
competition, incentives and free market) are essentially destructive,
based on misunderstandings of how nature and the universe work, and
stimulating and encouraging the very worst side of human nature. Thus
the size of the group decreased! But some of us persevered, and are
developing Aparigraha-a Sanskrit word which means Non-Greed-A
New Economic Paradigm for a Culture of Peace.
Agenda Point #1:
Problem Definition by Victor Landa
a) Why are we here?
My presence in the meeting was because I requested the help of all of
you and you were gracious enough to offer it.
To have a confirmation of a shared vision based on the understanding that
there is something terribly wrong with the direction in which Western
society is going and that one of its root causes is the economic system
on which it rests; and that this direction can be changed if there is
a will and a pure intention, not motivated by selfish but by selfless
Because I believe that such a powerful and enlightened group of individuals
in the area of economics as you are can certainly bring a significant
benefit for the planet.
b) What outcome do we want from this meeting?
To decide whether it is an option to embark on such a project to contribute
and be part of the necessary change in the direction that society is going,
by offering an alternative to the present economic system.
c) What outcome do we want at the end of this process?
To contribute to the already existing movement of a new economic paradigm.
To produce a document that will provide a framework for a new economic
system that will
1) reflect the positive aspects of world religions as far as accomplishing
the well-being of the human being.
2) Stimulate and engage the innate tendency of the human being of moving
towards higher consciousness.
3) Provide the tools and mechanisms that will promote this movement towards
higher consciousness at an individual and collective level.
4) Express in very clear terms that the present capitalist system has
inherent in its conceptual basis elements that are dehumanizing and consequently
destructive of a society that on the contrary should promote universal
brotherhood, love and compassion; and that the principle of "scarcity"
a fabricated ghost, promotes divisiveness, separation, antagonism, competition
and anxiety leading to violence.
5) considering as a basis of the new framework, the principles of "abundance"
as opposed to scarcity, "cooperation" as opposed to competition,
"motivation" as opposed to "incentives."
Motivation will be the key element
in human growth since it has to be the result of the expression of higher
onsciousness of each individual based on the level of spiritual awakening
that has been attained: more clearly "selflessness" replacing
"selfishness," and the aspiration to serve humanity as a powerful
propeller, rather than self-serving or "clique" serving
The documents included as handouts "Alternative Approaches for a
New Economic Model" provide numerous leads and examples of organizations
and individuals working in the same direction. There is a growing grassroots
movement inspired by these same ideals that is building momentum. (See
attachment 3). It seems opportune to consolidate the theory and conceptual
framework that reflects these ideals and make it available and enriched
the contribution of those responsible for the education of future economists.
At this point in time "economic rules" determine the policies
that governments under pressure adopt in total detriment of the population.
A solid new model based on ethical, moral and spiritual concerns will
certainly appeal to the idealism of young individuals preparing themselves
to assume their role in the field of economics. The confluence of this
generation of economists with the upsurging grassroots movement that is
actually putting into practice the same theories, could have the catalytic
effect of transforming society or at least changing its direction, moving
towards a world that recognizes the brotherhood and sisterhood of all
human being, and its responsibility towards creation and towards future
generations of all sentient beings.
That document therefore will need to be widely spread, with great emphasis
on the area of education, schools of economics, sociology, law, etc.
As said before, that document will contain the common concepts of the
different religions related to this matter so that it can be embraced
and spread by pastor, rabbi, imam, etc, to their correspondent congregations.
There is also a strong renaissance in vast religious circles towards their
original sources of identifying with the oppressed, "the poorest
poor" as Mother Theresa would say, and oppose the dominating "materialistic"
forces that arrest the spiritual aspiration of the human being to its
sacred birthright to ascend and attain its highest spiritual potential.
The challenge is to incorporate as much of the different currents existing
or in process of development to make it as universal and respectful of
the different approaches so that it may be not only welcomed but embraced
owned by all sectors of the population of the world.
Agenda Point #1:
Problem Definition by Eszter Szabo
a) Why are we here?
I am a mother of two young children and a member of the School of Life.
In the past years, my personal experiences with bringing up my children
as well as my yoga studies have made me realize more and more how our
life today is far from harmonious. On a daily basis I observe and feel
how we humans have distanced ourselves from each other and the Nature.
The effects of this is visible everywhere I look and every issue I encounter
in my regular life.
At all levels of society, individual, organizational, or governmental,
as well as at all areas of life, that of economics, politics or social
we seem to be creating more harm to ourselves and to our Planet than good,
to the point which by today has reached a level of a large scale self
destruction. We seem to be unable to deal with problems and issues in
a manner that would enhance life for the vast majority of people in the
South as well as opposed to just few in the North. Also, in our quest
to improve living standards today we are sacrificing an acceptable quality
of life for future generations.
I would like to learn from the members of this group, what you think about
these issues of today. And I hope to embark on a journey with you in trying
to find the causes of our problems and possibly to design a solution alternative
to them. I would hope to bring the perspective of a mother, a wife and
a woman to the discussion table.
b) What outcome do we want from this meeting?
By discussing the concerns above mentioned with you, I would hope to arrive
at a common ground with respect to the cause/s of our social, political
or economic problems. Based on this ground, I would like to see a plan
developed by us to start addressing these issues honestly, at their roots
and from a globally responsible view.
c) What outcome do we want at the end of this process?
To make it very clear to the vast majority of people that what we are
currently doing in most areas of life is dangerous, wrong and it contributes
to our own misery.
To encourage and help us incorporate consciously in our daily life ethical
and moral values that are life enhancing and not life destroying.
To help people understand the role that higher level of consciousness
can play in creating a harmonious society, and to provide us with tools
to increase our level of consciousness so that we have better chances
of reaching such society.
To help us understand the relationship between our own actions and their
influences on the development of society, that is that individuals acting
responsibly in masses will ultimately have beneficial effect on the life
of all of us.
To make us realize the importance of reaching and maintaining a balanced
life and how this has a beneficial impact on the well being of the whole
Agenda Point #2:
Discussion of the current economic system by Victor Landa
a) How/Why is it failing?
At the risk of repeating myself, it is such a crucial point in all this
endeavor that it needs to be addressed again and again.
"How is it failing?" To reply to this it is not necessary to
elaborate much the negative results of the system: the evidence is conclusive:
the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor and the weak. Arguments
have been raised putting the blame on one or another, but the result in
the end is the same.
"Why is it failing?" Depends on how you look at it. For some
people it is not failing; as said before the rich are getting richer and
the poor are getting poorer. Exploitation is the quality inherent in the
system, whether it is of human beings or resources; a linear system moves
towards exhaustion. For those who value the acquisition of material possessions
and power over all other concerns, it is certainly working. For those
who value the human being and above all the value of the spiritual nature
of existence, the system is just anathema, lacking the necessary respect
for the sacredness of human life and of creation.
It is failing because its essential components are in themselves sources
of destruction and separation, opposite to the laws of love, solidarity
and union that are the ruling principles of the human whose consciousness
has been awakened to the Spirit.
Therefore, the concept of "scarcity"-that, as mentioned before,
has as its consequence "fear", one of the most negative traits
that human beings have to deal with-creates the conditions for the fight
for survival, that leads to the most violent expressions. Scarcity can
be artificially created and becomes then a most valuable weapon and a
tool to manipulate and exert control to obtain self-serving benefits.
The image that comes to mind is of a number of starving people in the
midst of whom some food is thrown to force a fight between them. That
is what "competition" seems to be about. Maybe it was acceptable
in times when man's instincts predominated above any intellectual or emotional
attributes, but that time has long past for most of humankind.
b) Can it be modified? How?
In the notes of November 28, 2003 and January 12, 2004 we have tried to
explain why the system is inherently life destructive instead of life
enhancing. Therefore any attempt to correct, modify or improve the present
system will inevitably lead to the same results. It is necessary to replace
completely the essential elements and therefore the whole system. Naturally
this cannot be done overnight and probably not even in one generation,
even though the pace of life and technological development are such that
things certainly happen at a much faster rate than ever before.
Therefore it merits a serious attempt to formulate a substitute system
for the present one.
c) How does spirituality fit into the present system?
From my point of view, strictly speaking they are conceptually antagonistic;
it may be worse than trying to fit a foot into a two-size-smaller shoe.
From a worldly perspective, "Freedom" is allowing the individual
to do whatever he wants. We can cite many examples of how this can lead
to total aberration. Its clear that in many cases the exercise of this
"right" leads to debauchery and dissipation. Corporate examples
Free market therefore has also inherent in it a destructive element since
it is based on "chance", or the strength of the forces trying
to control it, by fabricated scarcity, imposition of conditions by military
or financial might (the army, IMF, World Bank, etc.)
Freedom, from a spiritual perspective, on the other hand, is the capacity
developed by an individual to submit his animal nature to the dictates
of his higher nature, that is, based on spiritual values. It is called
such because it liberates him from the enslavement of the animal nature,
from the low desires that in their grossest manifestations lead the human
being to drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., and at a less gross level materialism,
power drive, etc. True freedom can be experienced by the individual who
has risen above his animal nature to the point of being able to live his
life strictly guided by ethical principles without feeling any internal
resistance or discrepancy with them. The first indicator of this freedom
is the replacement of selfishness for selflessness, the commitment to
solidarity and the preoccupation for "the other." Paradoxically,
when that state is reached there is no "other"-since the realization
has dawned that we are all one. Like separate fingers of one hand, if
we hurt or mutilate one finger the whole hand suffers. When we understand
that we are all fingers of the same hand-- that of the Creator-- our attitude
in our economic pursuits will be different.
Therefore the aim should be to satisfy the needs of everyone without exception,
and the system should be organized in such a manner that will allow every
individual to contribute with his own particular strengths, and benefit
accordingly. Those unable to contribute because of physical or mental
limitations should not be left out but be included to cover their basic
needs and more, if the abundance which should result from such a system
will allow that to happen.
Agenda Point #2:
Discussion of the Current Economic System by Eszter Szabo
a) HOW is it failing?
The examples for the failure of the current economic system, that is,
the market driven capitalist system are abundant. We can observe around
us, even in what some name the most civilized countries the total collapse
and / or lack of unifying values in society. Some of the examples are
so apparent to the ones who have been awaken to see reality that these
people have serious issues with continuing living life of "business
as usual" under this system. Below are examples to highlight the
severity of the issue. Each category is showing the problem at a different
First level. In the USA, which is the leader of the market driven capitalist
system, innumerable political, social and economic problems are not addressed
by the social system, they are in fact completely avoided or denied. Some
examples of how this system is unable to provide for the basic needs of
its citizens are: various segments of the society, such as the elderly,
families with children, illegal immigrants, and African Americans, are
left on their own to exist without basic societal support. . There is
no universal health care available to people. 26% of the tax collected
by the government is used to manufacture weapons and another equal percentage
is used to keep 1% of the population in jail. The USA has 2% of the world
population, but produces over 25% of the waste and pollution in the world.
Democracy in the USA means that ultimately about 20% of the population
chooses the political party that forms the government and the remaining
80% is disregarded, made fun of, or being taken advantage of. Basic education
does not teach students how to live a wise, healthy and honest life. Instead,
it aims to teach mainly intellectual skills, which suffice in only a narrow
area, and indirectly implants ideology, which encourages getting ahead
while disregarding the impact on others. Government manipulated fear permeates
society, the result of which is that security walls are being currently
built around government and civic buildings, monuments, and museums in
Washington, D.C. much like the Chinese built their wall thousands of years
ago. Police guards patrol life in the city 24 hours. Citizens' daily work
load -10 to 12 hours for 50 weeks a year - is so overwhelming that they
are unable to carry out other civic and parental responsibilities, i.e.
voicing their interest in public affairs and providing proper care for
their young ones. The result is that 20 million Americans take antidepressants,
with the fastest growing segment being preschoolers. Children are very
sick. Between 1990 and 2000 the number of children murdered by other children
in America has surpassed the number of soldiers lost in the Vietnam War
and suicide is the third highest cause of death among children.
Second level. Division of North and South, or the difference between
the standard of living in the rich countries with some 10-15% population
of the world and the poor countries with 85-90% of the population of the
world. This is not a new phenomenon, but one that has been present at
least since the time of colonization. What we witness today however is
a different kind of colonization, an economic colonization of the South
by the North. It is only the adjective that has changed. The rich countries
comprise, not exclusively but mainly, of the former colonial powers and
a new one, the USA. The USA is currently the main colonizing power in
the world. Its interest is all around the globe, in Central and South
America as well as Asia. The rich European countries are concentrating
on taking over the markets "East" of Vienna. Thus, similarly
as in the past, as a result of this these countries are able to achieve
higher living standards at the expense of the rest of the world. This
problem that divides humanity needs urgent solution, and the approach
to addressing this issue must be very different from the one designed
and in use since the inception and according to the Bretton Woods system.
Moreover, total disregard for the well-being of humanity can be seen when
countries override UN decisions, declare wars unilaterally, and similarly,
when leading countries of the world elect a new president of the World
Bank who is connected to a very questionable and bloody war.
Third level. The global environmental crisis has reached a level, which
makes it almost impossible to live acceptable life for future generations.
Here, we need to address a crisis that already has impact on major part
of the world's population. This crisis will affect the whole humanity,
although most are still unaware of this issue, in this lifetime. Today,
there are serious problems with the quality and quantity of our water,
air and soil as a result of us, humans putting more and more strain on
the planet's eco-system. Air is so polluted in and around some of the
major cities in the world that it has become highly unhealthy to breath.
We have polluted our waters and we are increasing the speed of global
warming, which results in melting icebergs and the drying out of lakes
and rivers. We have over fished our rivers, lakes and oceans. Our soil
is nutritionally depleted, and instead of using agricultural practices
that aim to correct this, we are still putting more strain on the soil
by applying artificial pesticides and fertilizers that further pollute
our environment and kill beneficial insects and poison animals and humans
alike. This situation becomes worse every minute, the signals of which
are the decrease in natural habitat, the increasing number of animal species
that are becoming extinct or endangered as well as we, humans are manifesting
all signs of diseases that are direct results of the current system we
live under. The biggest problem is that most of us in the developed countries
wake up every day without being aware of how our own daily actions contribute
to this situation. Thus, we do not even know that we need to start acting
differently to start reversing this process.
Reading over this list, one cannot but wonder why did we become so isolated
from reality, develop such cold hearts, and rely on foggy minds that we
do not see reality. Why are we, humans failing to see the truth? Why did
we become so unlike human?
There are various explanations available to us from a multitude of sources.
The differences among these explanations exist as a result of how deeply
and honestly this issue is looked at. A serious research on the topic
would require that we aim at addressing the root of the problems and not
just the superficial symptoms appearing at various levels. To do this,
we might try to answer some of the basic questions that follow:
Q: 1) Humans and Nature: What/who is a human being? What forces drive
human beings? What is Nature? What forces affect Nature? What are the
relationships between human beings and Nature? Where does a human being
end and where does Nature start? Where is the boundary between the two?
Q: 2) Individuals and Society: Why do humans live in a community/society?
What is the relationship between the individual and the community/society?
What are human values? How does a society promote and ensure basic human
values? What constitutes constraints to individuals and society?
Q: 3) Society and Economics: What kind of society would satisfy higher
human ideals? What are the essential parts to a system of society, which
truly serves human beings? What should be the characteristics of and relationships
among the parts of such society? How does economy fit in with the other
parts of such a society? What are human needs? What are desires? Haw far
can an individual or a community/society go in satisfying its own needs/desires
in relationship with those of others?
When we start addressing these questions generally and then specifically
with respect to the market driven capitalist system, we cannot fail but
see the limitations of the current system. We can state the following
failings specifically of the Capitalist System:
Failings of the Capitalist System:
RE: Q1) Man and its environment are treated at their grossest physical
level only. There is a hierarchy where man is the king at the top and
animals and plants are treated as secondary elements. Nature is subservient
to man, and exploited by man to an extent, which has never been seen in
known times. Basic relationships between Men and Nature are not recognized,
i.e. essential parts of Nature, such as air, water, and soil are treated
only as utilitarian and not as being part of both men and nature.
RE: Q2) The noble idea of "One for All and All for One" in
this system degenerates to the idea of "One for Self Misusing All."
This contradicts the basic purpose of a community/society. The current
capitalist system encourages vices more than values, which is manifested,
among others, in mass ignorance, in favoring convenience over reason,
in greed and gluttony, in weakening of body and mind, in massive waste
of resources including money, time and human lives, and in poisoning our
body and habitation.
RE: Q3) In this system inequality, injustice and lack of liberty prevails.
The system is in contradiction with human ideals. What we see around the
world is a growing gap of rich and poor. There are people in the business
and entertainment industries in the rich countries whose earnings would
be enough to feed people in many villages in Africa, where children, women
and the sick are dying of hunger and infectious diseases every minute.
This is major injustice. Growing environmental pollution threatens everybody,
however the rich people are better able to protect themselves using their
financial resources; e.g. by using bottled or filtered water and nutritional
supplements or benefiting from high-tech medical treatments. Thus they
do not really strive to find a real solution for everybody. This is not
equality. In the USA, people work so many hours that the system could
only be compared to a medieval social system or slavery. This is clearly
not liberty. Economy has been degraded to serve the material development
of a small group of people to whom everything else is just capital to
be used to gain more wealth. This has created a dangerous polarity between
rich and poor. People in the Northern rich countries confuse needs with
desires while in the South basic needs are not met. This results in false
desires identified as needs, which then serve as ideological reasons to
wage wars or institute economic sanctions that deprive civilians in other
parts of the world of the possibility to fulfill their basic needs. Sadly,
economy, which originally aims at distributing resources, has become a
tool to mass violence both at the individual, country and regional levels.
The word "to modify" means to change a bit here and there but
leave the system essentially intact. If we did this, it would be like
trying to repaint the house outside while allowing the inside mess to
stay the same. This way we could, for a while, fool others and ourselves
that we have made a big difference. Essentially this is what humanity
has been doing for quite a while now. But by truly looking at the inside,
we would know that we have not in effect changed anything. The true approach
should be to start with the inside mess. This then in time will have a
true impact on the outside as well. Naturally, this does not mean quick
fixes and it involves, among others, self-sacrifice, hard work and a lot
of patience in dealing with each other, too. But in this case this means
that we must change the basis of the social and economic system, i.e.
a replacement of this system with a new one is recommended.
We ought to have a new system since as it is shown earlier, the current
capitalist system undermines human ideals and values. The main problem
with the market driven capitalist system is that it makes it easy for
us to allow ourselves to be manipulated by our lower nature, which manifests
mainly in running after our material desires. In this system, which mainly
feeds on our lower traits, we can be sure that we degrade ourselves, and
neglect higher, more subtle but equally important, non-material desires.
Why is this so? The straightforward explanation to the previous question
can be found in statements made by various spiritual teachers, among them
Mahatma Gandhi, who stated in various ways the following: "the more
we are attracted to the material, the farther away we get from the ethical",
i.e. the farther away we get from the moral and the higher ideals. Capitalism
is concerned with material. Moreover, it influences us to be more and
more material, to have more and more material desires. And as the beginning
of the paper shows, the result is clear; we have become inhuman. This
is the main problem with capitalism. This is an inherent problem in this
system, which cannot be solved by modification alone.
c) How does spirituality fit into the current economic system?
Some might be puzzled to see such a question where economics and spirituality
are connected. Why is it so? Why should we connect the two? As it is stated
earlier the more our focus is on the material, the less ethical we become.
This naturally does not mean that we ought to neglect our physical needs.
What it means is that there are other, possibly more important needs that
we humans have than the physical ones. This is especially true after we
have satisfied our basic physical needs. So to move away from our current
state, which is characterized by an excess of materialism, never ending
desires and a lowering of our human potentials, we need to find the other
side of materialism. We need to find the complement to materialism, and
we should start working toward that direction, or better make that as
a basis for our life. The complement to materialism is spiritualism. How
does the market driven capitalist system include the spiritual? It does
not provide much space for it. Capitalism equals materialism to the most
extreme. And as we can see the results, this is not only theory. This
is a fact.
Now to understand this here we must have a discussion about what economy
is and what spirituality is. A new definition for economics is necessary
since as we saw earlier the foundations of market driven economics we
learn at school are very different from what we experience, from what
the data shows. There is a huge discrepancy between the theory and reality.
Something somewhere is stinking with economics the way we learnt it! And
this discussion must take place about spirituality also since we do not
understand what spirituality is. We have not learnt about spirituality.
We do not know on which tree it grows. The following is a preliminary
attempt to create a better understanding of the two concepts and to show
that they are not contradictory.
When we aim to create a definition, we might want to keep in mind that
our aim is to find a useful one. What is useful? Useful is what helps
us evolve. So with this in mind let's approach our topic with the following
definition stated by an economist about economics: economics is a discovery
of human behavior. If it is that, then we surely need to look at human
beings. Our observations about the human beings however should not be
mainly at the grossest, physical level, but at a more subtle level also.
In other words, we should not be looking at our negative side, and based
on that we build our society, i.e. Darwin. But we need to look at our
positive side and build a society that fosters this side of us. Here we
see the two end of a continuum between our animalistic nature and our
angelic one. What happens when we do this is that we start approaching,
start dealing with the concept of spirituality. Why is that so? Let's
look at what spirituality is. On a basic level, spirituality is insight
into your Self; it is discovering your own Self, your identity in relation
to the world. By the way, this, your real Self, can be seen as a coherent
alignment of bosoms (the basis of consciousness in quantum particles identified
in physics) in the neural tissue of the brain states physicist-philosopher
Danah Zohar in her book "The quantum Self" published in 1991
as quoted in ODE Magazine, issue May 2005.
But spirituality is much more than just looking at oneself. Spirituality
is realizing who we really are, who we can be on the angelic side. Thus
it involves a much deeper look at one self than what the most superficial
level allows, i.e. who we are on the animal side. On a spiritual path
at the beginning we will see our lower side manifesting but the aim is
to start seeing, acknowledging and supporting our higher Self to weed
out the animal in us.
The word 'spiritual' comes from the Latin 'spiritus', which refers to
that which gives life or vitality to a system. What gives life or vitality
to us? It is surely our positive side. Thus all that, which is our positive
side can be referred to as spirituality. Spirituality thus is the force,
the foundation on which we build an angelic, or in an everyday word a
moral life. At the same time spirituality is that which lets us know if
we go astray, it lets us know when we deviate from "that which gives
us life." This way it constantly pushes us to become better, to evolve,
to leave behind the animal and become more of an angel. Spirituality does
this by applying its own laws. Where do these laws come from? Spiritual
laws are given to humanity by highly evolved individuals, like Zarahustra,
Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Prophets in the Old Testament, Krishna,
Mahatma Gandhi, Sivananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Omram Michael Aivanhov,
The Dalai Lama, Eckhart Toll and many others across all ages and on all
continents, who have the ability to comprehend, see, validate and state
these primordial laws, also called Perennial Truth. All these Masters
essentially state the same. On this, please see Working Document: Aparigraha
Economic Model, document #12 dated Oct.6th, 2004 by Durga Devi. The use
of these laws is to help us to choose our higher nature, to choose between
right or wrong.
One of such law is that which is stated earlier about the relationship
between materialism and morality. But there are many other similar laws,
which all advise us that a system of society, which aims to produce healthy
people -healthy body, mind, and soul- ought to be based on spirituality.
This does not however mean that we sit around meditating only or that
we go on long fasts all the time. What it means in practice is that we
start acting according to our Higher Self with others in our environment.
To help this process, we need a society, in our case a model of economics
that supports this Higher Self. This would mean that we base our economics
on spirituality, on spiritual values. Some of these values are love, tolerance,
compassion, mercy, generosity, patience and forgiveness. With respect
to such society we can state two other truth or laws. One is given to
us in a 2000-year- old document where economics is characterized under
domestic values as "the best employment of values for the wants of
life." Now here the word 'values' might not only refer to material
values but also to moral ones, in which case we can form a completely
different picture of what economy should be about. The other statement
is taken from the work of another highly evolved soul, Rudolf Steiner,
who stated the following regarding social life and economics: "The
health of a group, institution, or of society is the greater the more
it works with the principles of freedom in cultural life, equality in
the sphere of rights and responsibilities, and brotherhood and sisterhood
in the area of economic life." R. Steiner: "Towards Social Renewal"
1918-1922. These two statements along with the teachings of the other
highly evolved beings across the ages could serve as a starting point
for us in our quest to try to build a healthier society.
Bethesda, June 3, 2005
P.S. I thank all who helped and inspired me to try to understand the
issues stated in this document. Among them, Vyasa, my Guru, members of
the NEM group, Jan, my husband, the teachings of all teachers and masters
and the work of other highly evolved beings. I understand that this information
is not my creation and its sole purpose is to be used to help us to evolve.
"This ambitious name is temporarily used because it helps to illustrate
the nature of this project. Any attempt we can make to modify the status
quo of the ECONOMIC SYSTEM in place, whether successful or not, is worth
the effort. It might not offer significant contribution, but may be a
source of inspiration, or even show another road that should not be traveled."
This is the first paragraph of the first document produced for this project.
(Emphasis has been added this time) It is relevant at this point because
we are addressing the issue of developing a framework that means we have
more or less come to terms with a basic understanding of where we stand
and where we want to go, this seems then an appropriate point to attempt
adjusting the way we identify the project.
Aparigraha (non covetousness) a New Economic Paradigm for a Culture of
Peace seems long but at this point it might help us to remained focused
on basic principles:
a)Aparigraha, non covetousness is opposed to greed one of the main maladies
that the current "powers" seem to thrive on.
b) New Economic Paradigm reminds us that we are attempting to a radical
change in consciousness, not only a new model.
c) Culture of Peace reminds us that the foundation of this effort and
why we are involved in is because we believe that the present economic
system is one of the main roots of violence..
The first question in this point of the agenda is: What will it look
The first thing that the document must reflect is a humanistic egalitarian
notion starting from the satisfaction of basic needs that would have to
be defined in terms of the dignity of the human being, in the best we
can accomplish that with reference to the different sacred scriptures.
Second it must emphasize responsibilities rather than "rights."
Third it must rely strongly in the commonality of the principles of the
major religions in reference to those responsibilities. Stressing the
point of how they all cater for the needs of the human being rather than
for the accumulation of capital or beings.
It must explain the mechanisms to be used in order to generate the sources
of satisfaction of those needs.
The notion of spirituality as a fundamental element in the conceptual
framework should be very carefully approached to reduce almost inevitable
negative reaction from certain groups, that could be used by others to
further stimulate strong opposition.
It must categorically define and contain the principles of "Abundance",
"Cooperation" and "Duty", as opposed to " Scarcity",
"Competition" and "Incentives", stressing the abysmal
difference between one and another leading in one case to destruction
and separation in the other to construction and union.
The negative effect of the "Free Market" should be contrasted
with the need to satisfy the basic needs of all the sectors of humankind.
This could prove a difficult point but PROUT or PARECON could provide
good frames of reference for this purpose.
This is just to get started, the second question Who does what? Will be
determined once a clear outline is drafted.
November 1st. 2005 VL
1. General discussion regarding spirituality and humans
The idea that we are who we are but first of all we are the citizens of
The main problem of humanity as we see it -Spiritual laws vs. Men-made-laws
(religion) and moral, virtues (from Durga)
What is Spirituality? (Essenes, Yamas-Niyamas, a list of highest virtues)
Passive violence and spiritual ignorance are the highest vices
What is freedom in spiritual terms? And No expectations for the fruit
of your action
The search for truth- it is only discovered in the spiritual life; a spiritual
master- tells us the truth about ourselves and is a true friend (OMI)
2. Specific discussion to econ with respect to spirituality
What is economics? Who were the first economists - Templar bankers
What is the problem with economics? (Isolated science from the real human
nature, the need to express a true nature of man: Aparigraha,
New definitions for some of the basic economic terms from a spiritual
perspective: the problems of Scarcity-abundance, Needs (limited)-wants
(unlimited) from Kali and the relationship between needs and karma (anthroposophy),
Competition-cooperation from Vyasa, Discussion on efficiency and effectiveness
in spirituality based on Bhagavad-Gita teaching of no expectations for
the fruit of your action, economic growth and progress = that we may help
all of creation to advance (OMI)
Time and money are illusions, discussions on the value of money (money
The pricing of goods, what should it include?
How is work valued? Salary or contribution (anthroposophy) and the Gift
economy (domestic work)
Passive violence (wasting, polluting, hoarding, etc.)
John Nash and his equilibrium point for the actions of an individual with
respect to the group
Our own limitations are the biggest obstacles, not time or resources
Giving without receiving anything in return
The threefold nature of man, life and social order; the social, cultural
and econ sphere and their basis
R.Steiner said that labor, capital and land should not be an object of
Context for a renewed economics (anthroposophy)
New economic indicators: Gross Happiness Index and physical, mental and
emotional state of population
Accumulation of wealth and what the main religions advise on this
3. Action plan for the individual
Accountability and the concept of karma, needs and karma, to each according
to his needs: what does it mean?
The job of humans in the Michaelic Age: as external security falls away,
build internal security based on trust in others in the community and
faith in God, and God/the Law, which is within you
Love and its Meaning in the World (Steiner), deeds of Love = Service
Sierra Club: 4.5 acres for everyone
The new way of living - Earth Charter
Education- life long learning; Waldorf education (0-7 learning by example,
7-14 learning based on loving your teacher and have faith in her word;
14-21 learning for love of learning; after that life-long learning; it
is an individual responsibility; The universe survives because of its
laws - people are responsible for educating themselves about these laws
(OMI) April 1
Parents and educators - first must educate themselves
The purpose and role of prayer and meditation
The need for real brotherhood of men (OMI) July 4
What is the most important for children to learn? Do your best, your utmost
best and do not expect any result; the path is more important than the
goal/result; Jesus said: Little children, obey your parents in everything
you do (Washington National Cathedral, Children Chapel)
Local actions and global thinking
Vegetarian diet and fresh nutritious food grown by environmentally safe
The need for simplicity; the intellect is a burden, replace it with love.
I. Ideological Justification for a New, Spiritual Economic Paradigm
A) Perennial Philosophy and Spiritual Science
Throughout the ages, in different cultures, philosophers and prophets
have propounded that man has a spiritual part, which urges him to attain
Perfection-which is the nature of the Divine Creator- and thus fulfill
the aim of his existence. There is also agreement as to the general guidelines
a soul must adhere to in order to achieve that state. These guidelines
are spiritual laws, that have their counterpart in the laws of nature,
and are therefore evident to all who have "eyes to see," which
is why they often find their way into common parlance or "folk wisdom."
Because these same ideas are rediscovered time and again, in all places,
they are called the Perennial Philosophy, or the Perennial Truth.
These laws are not the property of any elite-which is why those who formulated
them for their brothers and sisters usually spent most of their time with
the poor and uneducated- but are humankind's spiritual birthright. They
are not unique to any particular religion, but form the core tenets of
Examples of these laws are: God is One; Mankind is a Brotherhood; it is
man's duty to live virtuously-most especially practicing: non-violence;
truthfulness; non-stealing; humility; duty, and reverence to God and creation.
The opposite defilements (violence, oppression; lying; stealing; arrogance;
selfishness/negligence, and forgetting God, or abusing the creation) are
strongly condemned, because they are behaviors, which are destructive
to life's foundations, and smother the soul's efforts to manifest.
In summary, perhaps the fundamental premises of the perennial philosophy
are that Man has a spirit, which is eternal and perfect, given to him
by, and being a part of, God, and thus his life's work should be primarily
spiritual, i.e. to express the perfection of his spirit in the material
world. Thus, spirituality does not conflict with materiality-- which is
part of man's existence-as long as the spiritual is seen to be the source
and goal of all life.
ai. The Chakras-a Perspective from Spiritual Science
One of the more esoteric elements of the perennial philosophy is the chakras,
or centers of energy, that exist along the spine and join the physical
and the subtle, or spiritual, bodies. While in yoga the subtle bodies
and chakras are explicitly described and worked with, they are found-again-in
all the major faith traditions, but in veiled terms. We hear, in Judaism,
of the Tree of Life (the Cabbala), and the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom,"
(Old Testament and the Koran) in Christianity, the "casting out of
seven devils", "seven churches" (New Testament), and the
"seven mansions of the soul", (St. Therese of Avila). Hindus
recognize the chakras. Energy centers are an established part of the New
Age spiritual sciences, and Ken Keyes works with them in an appealing,
practical manner (see NEM, pp. 44-46).
Consciousness, Portal to the spiritual
As can be seen, the chakras trace our unfoldment from the most primitive
survival instincts to our divine nature. Part of the perennial philosophy
is that humankind as a species is evolving upwards, from the first to
the seventh chakra. It is clear that any system of thought or behavior,
which produces a feeling of threat, causes us to resonate on our lowest
developmental level: the first chakra-- fear, survival. Likewise, any
system of thought or behavior, which produces feelings of security and
sharing, causes us to vibrate at our fourth chakra-- love. This applies
both at individual and collective levels.
The chakras are a liberating reference tool because with them we can immediately
see where our consciousness is, and work along certain lines to raise
it. We can also see where a given society's consciousness is. An event
like the attacks of 9-11 immediately sends most of a nation into first
chakra consciousness; whereas the kingdom of King Ashok in India, for
example, was secure, free, and wealthy, and the people vibrated at the
fourth and fifth chakras. The economic corollaries: if U.S. economic policy
is based on ruthless expansionism that justifies killing Middle Easterners
to get their oil, the result will be fear on the part of those they attack,
and a violent counter-attack like the twin towers. Whereas, King Ashok
disbanded his army and directed all his former military expenditures into
social welfare and work programs, so his people were happy.
This is Vyasa's strong case against capitalism-that it creates the ghost
of scarcity, which creates fear, which fuels competition, which creates
violence in the "fight to survive". (NEM, p.1). This thwarts
individual and collective spiritual evolution. A spiritual economic system
based on abundance would promote cooperation and service, advancing humankind's
B) Scriptural Justification
"Every religion has its own 'Economic Ten Commandments'."
~ Dr. Monzer Kahf.
Hinduism (from the Bhagavad Gita, commentary by Sri Prahbupada)
Chapter 16: "The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire
to acquire money. That is unlimited. He thinks only of how much assessment
he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth further and
further. For that reason, he does not hesitate to act in any sinful way
and so deals in the black market for illegal gratification. He is enamored
by the possessions he has already, such as land, family, house and bank
balance, and he is always planning to improve them Anyone who comes
into competition with such a demoniac man is his enemy. There are many
demoniac people, and each is enemy to the others. This enmity becomes
more and more deep-between persons, then between families, then between
societies, and at last between nations. Therefore there is constant strife,
war and enmity all over the world." Chapter 2: "If economic development and material comforts
could drive away one's lamentations for family, social, national or international
inebriates, then Arjuna would not have said [no kingdom could make him
happy.]" Chapter 16: "Fearlessness, singleness of soul [an] opened
hand [i.e. charity] And governed appetites;" are virtues belonging
to the good man.
"Slaves to their passion and their wrath, [evil men] buy Wealth with
base deeds, to glut hot appetites; Conceited, Stubborn and proud,
dead-drunken with the wine Of wealth These My blasphemers. The Doors
of Hell Are threefold...The door of Lust, the door of Wrath, the door
There are at least seven such more condemnations of the accumulative tendency.
Judaism (Torah, Writings, & Prophets):
Ex. 22:25 "If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor thou
shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shall thou lay upon him usury."
Deuteronomy 15: 7-14: "If there be among you a poor man thou
shalt open thine hand wide unto him for this thing the Lord God will
bless thee For the poor shall never cease out of thy land: therefore
I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide to thy brother "
Psalms: 10:2: "The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor "
82: 3 "Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted
Proverbs: 17:5 "Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker "
(There are 188 more such references on man's duty to the poor in these
Deut. 17:17: neither shall he [The King] greatly multiply to himself
silver and gold "
25:15: "But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect
and just measure For all that do unrighteously, [unfair business
transactions] are an abomination unto the Lord thy God."
Psalms 19:10: "More to be desired are they [the judgments of the
Lord] than gold, yea, than much fine gold "
Ezekiel 7: 19: their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the
day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither
fill their bowels: for it is the stumbling block of their iniquity."
Zephaniah 1:18 [almost the same quote].
Christianity (New Testament):
Matthew 19:23 "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly
[i.e., with difficulty] enter into the kingdom of Heaven."
Luke 6:20 "Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
Luke 14:12-14: " When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy
rich neighbors but when thou make a feast, call the poor, the maimed,
the blind, And thou shalt be blessed "
Matt 6:24 "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."
Luke 3:11 "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath
none; and he that hath meat [food], let him do likewise."
Matt. 22: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Surat 106:2-3 "Woe to [he] who pileth up wealth and layeth it by,
thinking that his wealth would make him last forever! By no means!"
21:73: "Give just measure and cause no loss [to others by fraud.[
And weigh with scales true and upright. And do not withhold things justly
due to men "
30:39 "That which you lay out for increase through the property of
(other) people [i.e., interest] will have no increase with Allah; but
that which you lay out for charity will increase; it is these who
will get a recompense multiplied."
2: 110: "And give Zakat [2% of all net income/assets which goes
to the poor and needy] "
2: 177 "It is righteousness to spend of your substance, out
of love for Him [God], for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, the wayfarer,
those who ask "
3:134 "Those who spend freely, whether in prosperity, or in adversity
[will be rewarded by Allah]."
64: 15-16: "Your riches may be but a trial Spend in charity
for the benefit of your own souls. And those saved from the covetousness
of their own souls-they are the ones that achieve prosperity."
C) Humankind's "Unlimited wants and Needs"-- for Spiritual
All people essentially want to evolve, or to become better than they
are-to reach a state of perfection, which is the soul's nature. In capitalist
theory, the concept of "unlimited wants and needs" is a crucial
part of "scarcity". A very informative website, www.amosweb.com,
which explains economic terms for the layman, gives the following definition
A pervasive condition of human existence that exists because society
has unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used for their satisfaction this
scarcity problem means: (1) that there's never enough resources to produce
everything that everyone would like produced; (2) that some people will
have to do without some of the stuff that they want or need; (3) that
doing one thing, producing one good, performing one activity, forces society
to give up something else; and (4) that the same resources can not be
used to produce two different goods at the same time. We live in a big,
bad world of scarcity. This big, bad world of scarcity is what the study
of economics is all about. That's why we usually subtitle scarcity: THE
In a sense, this "unlimited wants and needs" concept is a reality,
which yoga explains very clearly. Man's desire is to be one with God-which
is a virtually infinite desire, because God is the Absolute. But this
one, original desire of the soul-which as we have seen is part of the
perennial philosophy-gets distorted when the soul incarnates in a body;
it turns outward, and fragments. In yoga this is called maya, or the veil
of illusion or ignorance. The resulting state is greed. Yogi Harish Johari
gives a lucid explanation:
The feeling of separateness brought about by taking birth creates a craving
for fulfillment. In order to function in the world, [a person] must first
make certain his physical needs are met Greed arises when [man] confuses
his sense of unfulfillment with the need for material survival. Having
attained the necessities of life, he still feels empty. ..So he acquire[s]
more and more material belongings in the hope of fulfilling himself. The
more he acquires, the deeper his compulsion becomes This craving
for material success is also the root cause of all military conquest.
Greed comes from insecurity, and insecurity from misidentification of
Self [i.e., the spirit.] When a [person] does not believe in God, he does
not believe in providence The [person] who falls into greed also
opens the gate to maya, anger, and all other first-chakra problems. (from
Lila, pp. 34-5.) (italics added)
Fortunately greed is only one of 72 states of consciousness mapped out
for us by Yoga Science. Although all of us must at some time feel it,
in healthy social conditions, we outgrow it. This leads us to the problems
D) Critique of the Prevailing Capitalist System
a) Basic Concepts
i. Scarcity: Capitalism starts from the flawed premise that the Divine Intelligence
did not provide everything needed by the beings on this planet-and so
lays the groundwork for a fear-based, greedy, first-chakra society, with
its false notion that "scarcity" is a basic condition of human
life. (Vyasa, NEM, pp.1-2, and pp. 44-6). We can see this process repeat
itself when an "undeveloped" "primitive" society,
such as the Solomon islands-- where people are generally happy and peaceful,
having the basic necessities of life, but not a lot of material possessions-
is opened to capitalism, and the social structure disintegrates in the
wake of the new selfish "ethic".
Therefore, the problem of scarcity has as its source greed. (See Bernard
Litaer's Beyond Greed and Scarcity, NEM p. 124). Numerous studies have
shown that the world produces abundant food for all people-the "problem"
is non-distribution of the food, because of man-made (economic) scarcity.
(Jean Ziegler, Hunger is a Man-Made Massacre, NEM, p. 131). Therefore,
Aparigraha Economics-"Non-greed" economics-starts with the true
premise that the planet possesses abundant resources. It also recognizes
that with this abundance came the responsibility of efficient use-which
after all is the purpose of any economic system: to distribute among as
many as possible the fruits of production. From a spiritual perspective,
all humankind is one family, and there is no economic "efficiency"
unless every man, woman, and child's basic needs are provided for.
ii. "Profit Maximization":
Or take the second part of the definition of capitalism (the first and
third parts being, respectively, private ownership of capital, and a system
of relatively competitive markets): " A type of economy based on 2)
freedom to generally use the privately-owned resources [and] goods to
get the most wages, rent, interest, and profit possible," where "The
standard economic assumption underlying the analysis of firms is profit
In Aparigraha economics, profit making is not the main goal-- service
is. In fact, in the Islamic economy this is standard practice: "goods"
must actually be "good"-they must "bring about the material,
moral, and spiritual betterment of the consumer." (Kahf, p. 23.)
Objects that do not meet this criteria, eg., alcohol and pornography,
are considered economically useless, and are not produced. (ibid.)
Closely linked is the idea of incentives-this however applies both to
consumers and producers. Again, the motivation to participate in the economy
is to make money.
The classical capitalist belief is that competition is the best milieu
for production, which benefits the consumer, because he gets only the
good that was "good enough to make the cut". However, the American
dream of the corner drug store, and Mom-and-Pop ice cream shops, has turned
into a global nightmare of gargantuan chains owning everything from food
industries to credit card lines. Small businesses are buckling all the
time with no hope of competing against these multi-billion dollar enterprises.
In the name of "free trade", these multi-national corporations
move production to underdeveloped countries to evade taxes and stricter
pollution and labor laws. All this is today common-knowledge. But even
"perfect" competition-which, again, in today's commercial world
is virtually a thing of the past-has fundamental drawbacks. As Vyasa has
discussed, Dr. Alfie Kohn's book, "No Contest" shows the psychological
and social damage caused by competition, and demonstrates that competition
brings out not a person's best, but an inferior, performance. Creativity
and courage thrive in a nurturing atmosphere of cooperation, whereas competition
instills fear and aggression-which is only logical, because it summons
first-chakra mode-the fight for the survival of the fittest (NEM, p.1.)
These core notions of capitalism (scarcity, all-for-profit/ incentives,
and competition) then must be replaced with abundance, service, and cooperation.
The concepts of efficiency, full employment, and growth will be dealt
b) Capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction:
as Immanuel Wallerstein has been explaining since the 1970's, this global
empire is heading for a fall because "expansion" cannot go on
indefinitely; as deep ecologists put it, the present capitalist production
system is linear, (whereas nature is cyclical) and must exhaust itself.
(Capra, NEM, p. 11, and Vyasa's 2nd commentary.)
c) Economists' Group Critique
Members of the economist's group (from NEM discussion notes) gave the
following critique. Capitalism:
Inequitably distributes goods
Often fails to produce economic growth (see Dr. Kliksberg's book, Economia
Con Rostro Humano) or
What growth it produces does not reach most (number of poor rises, income
Has failed to guarantee an adequate standard of living for the majority
of the world
Harms the environment
Creates economies based on war
Erodes family structure-many members have to work long hours
Does not meet the basic needs of most people
Is based on consumerism
Human consciousness is not part of the capitalist system
d) Albert's Critique
According to Mr. Michael Albert, who has developed the ParEcon (Participatory
Economic) Model with Robin Hahnel, i. "Capitalism is":
"theft" (enriches a few at the expense of many)
"alienation and anti-sociality" (individual is motivated to
advance self at the expense of others; money is worth more than human
"authoritarian" / anti-democratic (most employees have zero
say over their output, conditions, or purpose of their effort)
"inefficient" (squanders human and natural resources-treats
humans like machines; produces worthless things at great expense)
"racist and sexist" ("This is not intrinsic to the relations
of production, but occurs because under the pressure of market competition
owners inevitably exploit racial and gender hierarchies produced in other
parts of society.")
"violent" (puts nations at odds, even to war)
"unsustainable" (markets propel short term calculations and
make dumping waste on others easy and unavoidable, polluting the environment
and harming living beings.)
Of markets, one of the three defining elements of capitalism, Mr. Albert
writes that they:
"destroy equitable remuneration by rewarding output and bargaining
power" instead of hard work and social values
"subvert solidarity" "by forcing buyers and sellers to
try to buy cheap and sell dear"
"produce dissatisfaction as an aim" to keep people buying new
"misprice transactions" only valuing impact on immediate buyers
and sellers-not valuing environmental and social costs
"create a competitive context" where workplaces have to try
to cut costs and seek market share-adversely affecting workers
II. Ideology of Aparigraha Economic Paradigm
God is the ultimate economist, and has provided the means to thrive for
every one of his creatures. The universe operates according to definite
natural and spiritual laws, and it is mankind's responsibility to learn
these laws and live by them, and thus assume his role in creation as steward.
It is up to human ingenuity to design an efficient and benign economic
system that -out of abundant natural and human resources-- provides for
the basic human needs (food, clothing, shelter, education, and human rights)
of all, with no damage to our Mother Earth, the source of all resources.
This provision will set the stage for humanity to try to satisfy its unlimited
wants and needs for spiritual development.
The perennial philosophy states that violence begets violence-- no good
can come of evil. Therefore, any economic system, which is to guarantee
a good life for humankind, must not be based on exploitation/abuse of
animals and plants, and certainly not of human beings. (This is, in essence,
the thrust of the "Green Business" movement-don't harm the environment,
and treat workers fairly.)
Motivation of Service
As noted above, if the first chakra is stimulated, people will be fearful,
greedy, and selfish. If the fourth chakra is stimulated, people will be
generous, courageous and loving. Therefore, aparigraha economics will
not work via "incentives"-quid pro quo-but by stimulating people's
higher natures, inspiring them to work for the good of others, which also
serves one's own best interests. Dr. Kahf, again, gives a beautiful example
from Islamic economic practice:
Morality and spirituality do not demand from an entrepreneur the abandonment
of his ambitions rather it encourages and further stimulates his
ambitions by calling upon him to make his enterprise, besides properly
satisfying his own ambitions regarding life and its enjoyments, a means
of serving humanity." (Dr. Siddiqi, quoted in Kahf, p. 17.)
As said earlier, cooperation stimulates creativity and courage. These
lead to confidence and sharing, opening the doors to abundance. A society
where cooperation is the normal process will vibrate in the fourth and
Cooperation assumes that in the well-being of all is my own well-being,
and that when others suffer, so must I. Cooperation recognizes the value
of Unity in Diversity (NEM p.1) and interdependence (see Gandhi's The
Cooperation as a mode of thinking and doing values the potential inherent
in every human being; it is indispensable for a truly productive and efficient
society. (As noted above, capitalism's definition of "efficiency"
is deceptive-because-as voiced throughout the NEM-- in the pursuit of
immediate gains, it is closed to the potential of every human being, reducing
most of the working class to automatons, and perpetuating prejudices.)
The Camphill Communities, based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (creator
of the Threefold Social Order, NEM Supp. No. 3) are a beautiful example
of cooperation, where people with Down's syndrome live in intentional
communities, participating fully in village work, arts, and community
Cooperation therefore, is indispensable for "an economic model [that]
would include all the different aspects of human existence so that
the result of its implementation brings about the satisfaction of material
needs without any kind of discrimination against any human being."
A System Based on Ethics
In Aparigraha Economics, ethics are a-priori: the perennial values of
ahimsa (most importantly) and non-stealing, truthfulness, duty, etc.,
will underlie any policy. Markets and economics after all exist to help
humans to live better. In Aparigraha Economics, a human being, to live
well, must live in accord with divine values. The Islamic economic system,
which has existed for centuries, has functioned in this way from its inception-values
first. In a new age of global citizenship - the age of the Earth Charter-most
of humanity has an understanding of common core values that can and should
be basic to the practice of economics.
Aparigraha and Simplicity
The maxim "Live simply, so that others may simply live" is apt.
There is no reason to have thousands of brands of toothpastes (much less
soft drinks) except for the second tenet of capitalism, which licenses
the producer to use his resources to make as much money as possible-with
no criteria given as to the social benefit of his product. North Americans
make and buy too many-- at best needless at worst harmful-- items. This
is all a problem of greed. Many social scientists have said those living
in the United States must simply consume less-the world can not bear our
burden, in terms of garbage (literally) or consumption of resources. In
addition to encouraging green technological innovations, Aparigraha economic
policy would, again, encourage true efficiency, with little duplication
of labor, standards for usefulness and worth of items produced, and most
importantly would not rely on consumerism for growth, but on the satisfaction
of the basic needs, which would be periodically upgraded as the totality
of humankind has the preceding level of basic needs satisfied.
World-Community is more important than the Nation-State as an economic
One major theme echoed throughout the NEM is that humankind has arrived
at a turning point in its development- an upward turn of the gyre-- globalization
has finally made "world citizenship" a viable reality. Some
explain this in spiritual terms-i.e., that this is the dawn of the "New
Age" where the female energy will gain precedence over the male-
others in very material terms-mainly the fact that MNC's, which often
represent a vast amount of a nation's economic "worth" in fact
have no national loyalties, and often move production out of their nation
of origin seeking more profitable conditions.
Therefore, since capitalism has now permeated all over the world, Aparigraha
economic policy would be designed to work for the world-community; seeking
to foster cooperation amongst individuals and communities the world over,
and establish economic relations wherein information and resources are
shared in such a way that communities can become as self-sufficient as
possible, and the fruits of the system are distributed equitably to as
many human beings as possible.
People Centered Development/Participatory Economy/Economic Democracy
Another of the most commonly recurring themes in the NEM is a call to
replace capitalist economic hierarchies with networks. (see Lietaer, Capra,
Westerbos, Albert, Balle, etc.) The main "agents" in Aparigraha
economics will be individuals-not governments, not corporations (NEM #3.)
As has been discussed, under capitalism workers are in constant fear over
"job security"; most have no say over working conditions, hours,
etc. The work of many benefits a few. Daily there are horror stories of
human rights being trampled on so MNC's can make a better "bottom-line",
notably Coca Cola's murder of union leaders in Columbia. Millions of people
in the present world-order are the slaves of corporations, whether they
live in under a democratic form of government or not. Par Econ, Balle,
and Prout all articulate the need for and advocate methods to achieve
the redistribution of economic power.
B) Objectives/Goals of Aparigraha Economics
1. Provide as many people as possible with the basic human needs (food,
clothing, shelter, education) and more, as surplus exists, to provide
the conditions for individual spiritual development. (NEM #1).
2. To aid in the spiritual development of humankind as a whole, by "globalizing"
love, non-violence, and other spiritual values while engaging in economic
Revision of "Classical" Economic Goals
In Aparigraha efficiency is understood to mean truly efficient use of
precious natural resources, and precious human beings. As many throughout
the NEM note, capitalism's "efficiency" is largely a myth, due
to wasteful use of resources and people's life-times. Therefore policy
would promote development of truly efficient technology, which means eco-friendly,
renewable, and (eventually) cheap, such as solar and wind power-to heal
the earth and free up time for spiritual and benevolent social pursuits;
and would take into account that the whole human being-whether he be a
producer (worker) or consumer-must be taken care of, to create true "efficiency".
(Happy people are more productive and creative, and live longer.)
In traditional capitalist terminology "full employment" "is
when all of our economy's resources are being used to produce output."
Aparigraha economics has a different understanding of productive work,
since the criteria is not just earning dollars. For instance, were women's
household work counted as part of the "full employment" scenario
and included in calculations of the GNP, a very different understanding
of the real productive capacity of a society would arise. For this reason,
Aparigraha economists would also need to use new indicators (see the NEM
discussion notes on "Gross National Happiness".)
In classical capitalism, equity is one of the five traditional goals,
but it is said that "what is equitable is not obvious." (www.amosweb.)
Aparigraha economics holds that it is obvious. Until every human being
has his basic needs met, the economic system is not creating equity.
In capitalist theory this is defined as "The long-run expansion of
the economy's ability to produce output made possible by increasing
the quantity or quality of the economy's resources (labor, capital, land,
and entrepreneurship.)" As said, Aparigraha by its nature will make
much better use of people's labor and "land" (all natural resources),
and that in itself will aid the growth and quality of entrepreneurship,
as will cooperation being the mode of business instead of
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN THE "NEEDS" AND "WANTS"
THAT DRIVE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND WHAT THE SPIRIT NEEDS TO UNFOLD BRINGING
PEACE AND WEALTH TO ALL
"Happiness is not easily found.
It is difficult enough to find it in ourselves,
and impossible to find it elsewhere"
One day my Gurudeva asked: "What is the purpose of
your existence?" The answer was not at hand; however, it was within embracing
us all. As time passed by, my consciousness opened to different realms,
tears of wants started to dissolve in the suffering of others, many of
my "needs and wants" were no longer considered "real"
and I started to seek peace. To Him I owe these words and my eternal gratitude.
Economics is defined as "a social science that studies the allocation
of limited resources to the production of goods and services used to satisfy
consumer's unlimited wants and needs." One of the five notable phrases
contained in this definition that requires further revision is "unlimited
wants and needs".
Let's distinguish between the "needs and "wants" that
drive economic activity. In the best of cases, "needs" can be
thought of as physiological and biological requirements for maintaining
life, such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Some
people may include education, work, sex and leisure. These "legitimate"
requirements to stay alive sometimes may be contrasted with materialistic
and emotional wants or "consumerism" desires that are considered
necessary by the individual to make life more enjoyable via yet more material
consumption or the satisfaction of an emotional craving. According to
consumerism at all levels of existence, individual and societies become
happy by supplying for that materialistic greed - yet wants are defined
as insatiable. Please note that security, social recognition; self-esteem,
love and even oneness with God are sleeked in a consumerist way, as material
concrete achievements of the ego with small "e".
Needs are defined here as objective, identifiable and satiable. Wants
are subjective, capricious and insatiable. Needs cannot be eradicated.
Needs cannot be eradicated. They are inherent to biological existence.
Wants can be eradicated by overcoming desire. The pace in which each person
eradicates desire goes hand by hand with the individual spiritual development.
Consumerism preaches that we can become happy by supplying our materialistic
needs and emotional wants -yet they are defined as insatiable. It seems
that by definition, finding peace and contentment ("high utility")
via consumption is a project doomed for failure since materialistic wants
and desires cannot ever be fully satisfied --- a viewpoint echoed by most
spiritual doctrines. Purely materialistic approaches to human welfare
are doomed to failure; we need some other component to the approach, a
spiritual one. Can we factor this into economic thought?
1. Special thanks to John, a very dear professor of economics,
who with multiple conversations has helped me to think this matter through
and arrive at my best understanding of it.
2. Székely, Edmond Bordeaux. The Chemistry of Youth. p. 156.
Both needs and wants drive demand, but arguably satisfying
needs as defined here has priority from a policy perspective and a human
perspective. Humans objectively suffer if their needs for survival are
unsatisfied: they are hungry or sick or uneducated or dirty. Presumably
most economic agents satisfy "needs" as defined here before
seeking additional utility by satisfying "wants". (Recall Maslov's
"hierarchy of needs.") So the truly poor are those still struggling
to satisfy needs, while those struggling to satisfy "higher needs"
or "wants" are from a material point of view less unfortunate,
Focusing on "needs" rather than "wants" is hence
more equitable, more pro-poor from the development policy perspective.
Furthermore, while needs have objective limits and can be satisfied to
a large degree, wants truly are insatiable for those seeking satisfaction
in materialistic consumerism. Unsatisfied "wants" do not cause
material suffering defined as hunger, cold, thirst, unsanitary conditions,
and so forth; but undoubtedly are the source of frustration, injustice,
exploitation, and fear. Everybody agrees that satisfying "needs"
of the needy so defined is worthy of altruistic compassion and support.
The problem is that -even in the best of cases- people believe that satisfying
"wants" of the frustrated greedy individual consumers is not
the duty of the rest of us and that they should be left to their own devices.
Thus, in their greediness and with our indifference they end up having
more power and creating more and more poor, and more and more "needs"
among the poor.
The competitive free market does not and cannot distinguish between needs
and wants. Such distinctions invite non-market mechanisms that leave no
room for those who are too rich or too poor to exist.
In a market economy situation, competing for limited resources with limited
buying power, people may be unable or unwilling to satisfy either needs
or desires, without making any distinctions between the two groups of
goods. What really matters to a market economy is if people are willing
or unwilling -through psychological stimulation or motivation- to satisfy
these needs or desires, without making any distinctions between objective
needs and subjective wants. When a commodity is in high demand and is
less available or scarce in the market, the higher its price will be.
Competition then takes place and the best consumer bid will succeed in
finding satisfaction in the market. This causes frustration to those who
are not able to continue competing. So the relatively wealthy satisfying
their "consumerism" wants may crowd out the less fortunate satisfying
physiological needs, in some circumstances. For international donors,
or a hypothetical altruistic "social planner", this possibility
presents a bit of a predicament.
3. Abraham Maslov is known for establishing the theory
of a hierarchy of needs (physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization),
writing that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that
certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied.
Many people advocate growth: more is better than less, all
else equal. But all else is not equal. "Uneven" or "unbalanced"
growth favoring the wealthy or even an emerging middle class bid away
scarce resources from the poor, worsening their plight if there is no
"trickle-down effect". To the extent that the distinction between
wants and needs is objective and unambiguous, such uneven growth where
want satisfaction crowds out needs is objectively and unambiguously a
In a centrally planned economy, the philosophical aim is to guarantee
-in a planned and organized way- the progressive satisfaction of objective
needs. They must somehow distinguish between needs and wants. Under this
system, ideally, needs will come first and wants will be addressed afterwards,
not individually, but collectively. But central planning requires totalitarian
control, and has a dismal track record, in terms of liberty and efficiency.
In either materialistic capitalist system ruled by the market or socialist
system guided by "dialectical materialism", satisfaction is
often mistakenly conceived to be the product of acquiring unessential
commodities, and people are trained to believe that consumption is the
source of happiness. This motivation to have more, individually or collectively,
is in both systems the ultimate materialistic goal of their economic activities
and the purpose of their existence. As a consequence, the systems are
in a sense identical if they are merely materialistic in their aspirations.
Both types of economies shake hands when they have to respond to their
inherent materialistic motivations. Material greed in either form, socialist
or capitalistic, is ugly and in both systems their economies have to become
economies of war that can only survive with conflict, fear and subsequently,
huge military expenditures and the suppression of freedom.
The market economy enslaves through the media and cooperative culture,
while the central planned economy denies, hides and even persecutes individuality
by force. This happens because the central planned economy do not count
with the resources at different times in their economic development, to
provide to the society as whole with the goods, services and resources
that the capitalist society can only guarantee for a minority. Besides,
the central planned economy does not even consider what are the individual
needs of the people. Out of fear and with the aim that at some point they
will be able to improve their individual or collective living standard
or the so-called real per capita GDP , both end up suppressing freedom
and being societies of mistrust.
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle_down_effect. The
concept is hard to define. For example, one online magazine defines trickle-down
theory as an "economic theory, which advocates letting businesses
flourish, since their profits will ultimately trickle down to lower-income
individuals and the rest of the economy" (http://www.investorwords.com/5075/
tricle_down_theory.html). Another defines it as being the same "as
Supply Side Economics An economic theory that believes that the
support of businesses that allows them to flourish will eventually benefit
middle-and lower-income people, in the form of increased economic activity
and reduced unemployment" (http://www.moneyglossary.com/?w=Tricle+Down).
One economist defines it as "A theory of economic development that
claims higher standards of living for the poor will develop gradually
[with economic growth] and not at the overt expense of the more affluent."
The Real Per Capita GDP is used to refer to Gross Domestic Product per
person and corrected for inflation. Being the GDP per capita the value
of all goods and services produced in the economy divided by population.
Materialistic greed in its different manifestations cannot
be satisfied. This creates the phantom of scarcity, and when you get right
down to it, it is easy to see how this process of unsuccessfully fulfilling
wants and needs, individually or collectively, becomes life itself. Ever
increasing production to satisfy ever expanding wants is both selfish
and unsatisfying. This is why we must revise the paradigm.
This explains why, in spite of economic growth and technological achievements
more and more people on the planet are poor in either a physiological,
psychological or spiritual sense. Some are subjectively but not objectively
poor by our criteria, as they have unsatisfied wants. Others remain objectively
poor. Objectively poor meaning those who are unable to satisfy basic needs
(food, sanitation, clothing, housing, shelter, education and work). It
also tells us why this is a civilization of war and competition that can
only survive through conflict, fear, political oppression in its different
forms, subsequent huge military expenditures, armed suppression and environmental
destruction. Rich and poor share a world of dispute, tragedy and violence
of human degradation manifested in mistrust, individualism, counter values
and environmental degeneration. Under these conditions of economic exploitation,
political oppression and military suppression mankind cannot live in peace.
Materialistic economics makes the assumption that human beings will aim
to fulfill their self-interests. It also assumes that individuals are
rational in their efforts to fulfill their unlimited wants and needs.
Economics is thus a social science examining people behaving according
to their self-interests. The definition set out at the turn of the twentieth
century by Alfred Marshall, author of The Principles of Economics, reflects
the complexity underlying economics: " Thus it is on one side
the study of wealth; and on the other, and more important side, a part
of the study of man."
Materialistic economics that assumes individualistic utility maximization
achieved via consumption, without the spiritual component, reduces hearts
and minds to slaves of production and consumption, of supply and demand.
It makes people believe that to be happy is to have -to possess, instead
of being and sharing. In doing this, it adds many layers of darkness that
impedes the soul's manifestation. It chains us to the material plane.
It trivializes human beings and human existence. Needs from a spiritual
perspective are limited while desires and wants are unlimited. In this
framework, needs could be defined, as what the individual, family and
society must have to live with dignity. Dignity is not a material quality
alone, because it has nothing to do with nationality, profession or family
name, which are attributes of the physical plane to assist the human being
in spiritual evolvement. Needs could be defined as what the individual,
family and society needs at the physical level for the spirit to unfold
according to a determined stage of development.
From a spiritual perspective, a need is not a material superfluous triviality.
They are never the same for everyone. Everything that does not help us
to enrich the spirit and expand our consciousness cannot be considered
a need. They are desires and will inevitably be the cause of pain and
misery in the mid-term or long-term. Desire, according to the Buddha and
to many other enlightened beings is the cause of suffering. One may say
that all our calamities are linked to desire, to the so-called unlimited
needs and wants .
7. Marshall, Alfred. The Principles of Economics.
The practice of economics goes against the main purpose
of our existence to become pure Spirit. On our path towards the Spirit,
our consciousness expands, we subdue our senses and wants are reduced.
Revisiting, examining and changing the way we live economics is a vital
task, a matter of the survival of the planet.
On the one hand positive economics attempts to have a value free analysis.
This school even accepts that theoretically it is possible to be value
free but not in practice. In practical terms, they argue that if one wants
to help people, to make policy evaluation and give policy advice, one
has to adopt some values. On the other hand, normative economics and its
variations accept moral judgments and economists are entitled to assume
them in their arguments. (Unfortunately such assumptions often predetermine
all analysis, rendering objective analysis impossible in the worst cases.)
Note that none of these schools of thought consider the inclusion of spiritual
values in their theoretical or practical approaches, unless you consider
them to be "values" in the positive framework. They do not help
us to see the spiritual as more real; neither they encourage us to simplify
our lifestyles in order to have to make less money.
Many social scientists have elaborated on the fact that there is not a
scarcity of resources. They also have exhausted their research in determining
the problems (distribution, markets, etc). Communities, such as the Essenes,
have proven thousands of years ago that there exists an abundance of goods,
talents and services.
Many people are unsatisfied with the present system, and have described
what they would like to have instead on a material level but not in spiritual
terms, and that is probably why no one seems to know how to get there.
Some may even state that many schools have written proposals on an ideal
material world without success. As stated in previous paragraphs, dignity
is more than having food, housing, sanitary services, etc. It implies
the way that the goods are produced, distributed and consumed; how the
resources are taken from its source and allocated, and the services rendered
so that each member of society can grow in self-respect.
A revision of the definition of economics as a social science tells us
that human beings and their relationships are of the utmost importance
in its study. Their spiritual development should be its prime and ultimate
interest. Human beings are more than flesh and bones. We are the soul,
the spirit one for all. We are not commodities for market trade.
Therefore, economics should be a servant science to the progress of humanity;
to guarantee spiritually taken resources, produced goods and services
to satisfy the basic material needs required for each individual to achieve
higher levels of consciousness. In other words, it should provide what
is materially necessary to allow the individual and the collective consciousness
to evolve for the spirit to unfold. Only when the soul manifests is there
true freedom in a spiritual context. Choices should be made on how to
sacrifice, to better serve and to help society to achieve a higher level
of consciousness. Relationships should be based on virtue and wisdom.
Individual consciousness cannot expand unless its foundation lays on the
sacrifice for the whole, on the Oneness of the Universe.
Production includes the labor factor, which until now has been considered
a commodity, while it should be seen as a matter of service (Karma Yoga
). Progress and incentives are also concepts that need revision, efficiency
and effectiveness. Individual prosperity should be measured by the capacity
of an individual to generate the necessary energy and will -once his basic
needs be covered, to help others that are less strong, capable and talented-
to do it .
No economic model or paradigm can bring joy and health to the human world
if the voice of the spirit, the voice of the heart and soul does not develop
it. Market words by themselves are counter values. It is not the first
realm of knowledge that experiences this failure in history; e.g. psychology
was revised with the Jungian approach.
Economics without a leading higher non-materialistic component makes us
enslaved monsters. It is a wonderful tool for some to make and have more,
a wonderful servant for intellectual exercise, but a terrible master.
Economics is a logical thought process well suited to resolving certain
issues in the material way, being this one disconnected from the main
purpose of our existence. Some may argue that Economics cannot substitute
for a philosophy or a belief system or value system; rather it can serve
them well. The problem is that economics dictates the philosophy of living.
Unfortunately, casual/cynical assumptions typically used by economists
in model building have perversely become as philosophical compelling paradigms.
Technical econonomics usually takes "utility functions" as
given, without questioning them. Then, they simply assume that "more
is better than less" in material terms because this permits to build
mathematical materialistic analyses with a minimum of assumptions which
is acceptable for materialistic analyses. However, utility functions should
be built around spiritual not materialistic values because there is no
question that human beings are better off satisfying their "higher
nature" (altruistic and easily "satiated" materialistically
needs) rather than their "lower nature" (materialistic and greedy
There is confusion, sadness, misery, frustration and malice everywhere,
among the rich and the poor. Great wealth is concentrated into the hands
of few because there is exploitation. The poor from a spiritual perspective,
according to the Essenes, are also an expression of the negative forces.
The archetype of success that is in the collective consciousness nowadays
is built upon the message received through the media (TV, magazines, radio,
and cinema). Our present situations do not suffice because we have to
produce more which will enable us to buy more, to satisfy more personal
needs or the needs of those under our care -who we think "belong"
to us. Please note that even our sons and daughters are considered part
of our possessions.
8. Karma Yoga, or the practice of selfless service to others,
is a "discipline of action" based on the teachings of the Bhagavad
Gita. Karma Yoga focuses on the adherence to duty (dharma) while remaining
detached from the reward understanding that we are not the doers but just
instruments of God.
9. Steiner, Rudolph.
We may ask ourselves many questions What is the opportunity
cost for society of the timely kiss of a mother? What is the opportunity
cost of the mistrust of a husband or wife due to an insufficient budget
to fulfill "unlimited needs"? What is the opportunity cost of
competing instead of cooperating? Out of fear we all attack, defend, separate,
violently prevent or react, and destroy.
Basically because of its greediness, materialistic capitalism is incompatible
with true religion. It does not convey gratitude and contentment. Economics
should stimulate us to live as true Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews
or whatever true religion we choose to follow during every single minute
of our existence. Only then does Economics, as any other social area of
study, qualify to be called a science. There is no possible science based
on untruthfulness. In terms of the spirit we are all united with the rest
of sentient beings that inhabit this Universe. Therefore, there is no
real "mine", only "ours". Societies based on earning
or working more to satisfy individual or collective "unlimited needs"
do not let the life giving forces of our divine potential to manifest.
All spiritual teachers without exception and pretension have known all
this since the beginning of time. Maybe we were not ready to assimilate
it before. The time has come when families, communities, countries, and
the entire planet cannot survive within this context of existence, in
this trend of living, regardless of their material stature. Our times
are filled with violence, intolerance, hatred and destruction, and it
all starts because "I need more to have more to satisfy more desires
or fulfill my or my family unlimited needs" mindset.
Real needs can never be the same among individuals. But they would definitely
include five major groups:
Food: Simple. Progressive change to vegetarianism. Spiritually grown
produce with high nutritional value, grown in enriched soils
Sanitation: Sleep and rest, eat wholesome food, breath fresh air, drink
pure water, do exercise, positive thinking
Clothing: Simple, environmentally friendly, natural fabrics, according
Housing: Simple, warmed and lighted by sunrays, clean, ornamented with
views of nature, with a fruit and vegetable garden
Education & art: Simple as all great master teachings has being. A
system committed to providing an education of the mind, heart, and hand
such that each human being's unique individuality is free to seek its
echoing spirit in the wider world. A system dedicated to inspiring these
qualities: a clear-thinking mind; a warm, compassionate heart, an appreciation
of artistic life and form; a purposeful, creative, productive will; a
sense of trust in and joy for the evolving human story; a sense of unity
with all life; and a system for the individual to learn to know himself
and to discover his gifts. We are in need of a system capable of kindling
within each individual the capacity for articulate self-expression, service
to the world, and life long learning and growth A system that creates
a healthy cultural and social life, and carries that impulse to the wider
community a system as the one founded by Rudolf Steiner.
10. The loss of the most valuable alternative, which is given up whenever,
a decision is made involving two or more options.
11. Washington Waldorf School Mission Statement.
Work: Understanding that all what we do, our small and big
tasks are to serve the Spirit, to satisfy the basic needs so it is possible
to enjoy free time in its use for spiritual practices such as Karma Yoga,
or the service to others.
An economic system based on both the spiritual and the material, will
come because there is also spirit in matter, and matter is needed in our
physical plane to develop the spirit. To avoid confusion and misery, we
must be clear that it is the same spirit that animates all sentient beings.
To unravel it must be our goal Until we reach it we will have needs,
but not those imposed by the market place. We will never achieve a higher
level of consciousness or have a glimpse of eternity if we continue under
the rule of the corporations that control the conditions of the market.
The exchange between human beings and societies cannot be reduced to be
that of buyers who want a good (demand side) and the sellers who have
it (supply), where a buyer gives up money and gets a commodity and a seller
gets money in exchange. It must be a place to socially interact with trust
and act based on spiritual principles, which are universally the same,
to obtain what we need to expand our consciousness, and serve others in
order to help our fellow human beings to fulfill their true needs, those
which will assist them in their spiritual growth. Its purpose should be
to guarantee to us what our bodies, minds, and souls, need to develop
to the point where the spiritual can unfold. This can only happen by our
progressive change, growth in understanding, and the transformation of
our habits and work motivations.
RUDOLF STEINER'S THREE-FOLD SOCIAL SYSTEM
1) Economic Sphere
Liberty >> Cultural
Progress less in Fraternity/Economics than with others
PROUT ECONOMIC SYSTEM
1) Is this a Social Model or Economic?
2) What are checks and balances of the system?
Government vs. Individual
3) Is the goal of PROUT economic system spiritual attainment or is spirituality
necessary for success of PROUT system?
4) What is meant by spirituality in PROUT?
5) Who decides what is minimum requirements?
6) What makes up a "local economy"?
7) Can Norwegians eat bananas? How?
8) How to gauge merit?
9) Is it possible to keep the best/good aspects of capitalist system with
What are the tradeoffs?
10) Please give us information on the current experiments in implementing
How is it organized?
* how are decisions made?
What is economic democracy?; political system?
Possible forms to participate/links?
Who is involved?; private individuals?; public?; NGO's?
How is interaction with external world? Whether positive or negative
1. Econ functions require a social system, therefore Prout is a socio-economic
Social philosophy-Prout not limited to an economic system.
Change in education system needed to develop human as a whole-not
just skills based
2. Checks/balances of system
Statutory provisions (constitutions), egg., "minimum requirements"
Board of experts
* Large industry = 90% of workforce
90% of society are shareholders of the economy through co-ops
* Service Industry = 10% (Meritorious students)
* Governments (not political, but economic)
Local-elected by local persons who are members of co-ops
* Prout is synthesis of capitalism and communism
* Important element of Prout is private ownership
* Measure of economy should be individual purchasing capacity (not GDP)
Must be increasing
Gap between highest earners and lowest should be reduced
Surplus should go to reward more refined individuals
Change in individual philosophy towards how to live needed-move
from individualism/consumerism to cooperative/sharing/need based attitude
* Federal-2 houses
Rep by demographics 1
Rep. Per nation
* World-2 houses
Rep by population
* "Purpose of leaders is to protect the economic well-being of all
members of society."
5. Minimum requirements
* The 10% economic visionaries decide food/clothing/ housing/medicines/
* Market prices set by 90% (coop members)
* 70-80% of all workers are in Agricultural sector
6. Local Economy
* Local natural resources and indigenous population (common cultural group)
of a certain area
* Bioregions present natural divisions of cultural groups * Merger of
personal/individual interest with local economy
* Prout involves planning among different economies to make up deficiencies
in each economy
* Planning by state governments
10. Prout started in 1959
30,000 new co-ops developed
Earnings of individuals (employees) higher
* India (birth place of Prout)
Local leaders are educating people
Focusing on leadership development, not economic model