To distinguish PROUT clearly from communism and capitalism, the significant differences between these respective systems are reviewed below.
Human development under communism is primarily concerned with the political and economic spheres of life. Under capitalism there is a pluralistic expression of personal freedom, with no clear conception of human potentiality. PROUT promotes the integrated development of the full human personality.
Human liberty under communism is limited by the primacy of the interests of the state. Under capitalism, a licentious freedom of expression is permitted, but not a freedom from want and material insecurity. In practice, capitalist societies will restrict freedom of expression when this expression challenges the interests of capital. PROUT grants full freedom of psychic and spiritual expression, but recognizes the need for society to place limits on individual hoarding of wealth. Without this limitation, collective interests will be violated and universal freedom from want cannot be guaranteed.
Communism privileges the interests of the party and state. Capitalism gives primacy to property rights, and thus privileges the class controlling capital. PROUT gives central importance to promoting the common welfare while protecting ecological integrity.
Both communism and capitalism regard material development as the basis of progress. PROUT defines progress as the increase in inner fulfillment of individuals. While this is primarily a spiritual conception of progress, PROUT recognizes that material development is necessary as a foundation for seeking spiritual fulfillment.
Communism compels culture to be consistent with state ideology. Under capitalism, mass culture primarily serves commercial interests. As a result, it is creative but not authentic, energetic but often destructive of higher values. PROUT sees need for culture to emerge out of regional and ethnic experience, and for these diverse cultures to instill values which empower the human psyche.
Communism emphasizes income equality at the expense of individual productivity. Capitalism's system of incentives motivates high productivity, but the excess of its monetary rewards wastes collective wealth, encourages greed, and disrupts social unity. PROUT strives for balance: maximizing the efficacy of incentive while minimizing social inequality.
Both communism and capitalism lack a clear value context for environmental protection. PROUT has adopted the value framework of Neo-Humanism, which affirms the inherent, existential value of all life. Both communism and capitalism are unsuited to sustaining environmental integrity because they emphasize short term gain of profit or productivity and ignore long term costs of environmental degradation. PROUT's planning system aims to create ever higher orders of balance, and therefore inherently protects biodiversity and promotes ecosystem vitality.
Under communism, economic planning is highly centralized and controlled by the state. Capitalism centralizes the major part of economic planning in the hands of huge, transnational corporations. PROUT decentralizes planning authority to the level at which people are most aware of economic problems and potentialities, and therefore best able to plan for their common welfare.
Workers in both communist and capitalist economies are alienated due to lack of ownership or control of their workplace. PROUT's enterprise system is based on worker participation in decision making and cooperative ownership of assets - conditions which increase motivation and enhance possibilities for personal fulfillment.
Communism's command economy is responsive to production quotas. Capitalism's free market economy is profit motivated. PROUT's economy is consumption oriented. It seeks to increase consumer purchasing power and availability of consumer goods as the means for maintaining economic vitality and meeting people's amenity needs.
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