Dada Maheshvarananda (author); AFTER CAPITALISM; Innerworld Publications (Nonfiction: Social Sciences) 19.95 ISBN: 9781881717140
Byline: Jeff Fleischer
The Progressive Utilization Theory, or PROUT, was the brainchild of the late Indian philosopher Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, who created it as an economical and social theory that would provide an alternative to capitalism and communism. In After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action, Dada Maheshvarananda -- a monk and the head of the PROUT Research Institute of Venezuela -- presents this decades-old theory as a solution to a number of society's current ills.
Most of the book is simply an explanation of PROUT, and has the same strengths and weaknesses of the theory itself. While many of the goals advocated by Maheshvarananda and PROUT supporters -- such as diminishing income inequality and promoting citizen cooperatives -- are certainly admirable, the theory is often vague about how they would be achieved or what a transition to a PROUT economy would look like on a large scale.
The book has the same issue. In one section, Maheshvarananda goes into great detail explaining Sarkar's alternate view of history as a cyclical struggle between four classes defined by their psychological types (as opposed to the economic types Marx used in his view of history), but the core principles of PROUT remain largely ill-defined. For example, one of the five central principles is "There should be maximum utilization of the physical, metaphysical and spiritual potentialities of the unit and collective bodies of human society." The author defines this principle...