One of the main concerns of Ananda Marga’s Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) is economic democracy. There can be no “real” democracy if people are not economically empowered. That they should have enough purchasing capacity so they could live a decent life. While it should also happen in juxtaposition with proper education that would be a different story and we will come to that next week.
Economic empowerment of the people necessitates preventing the inequitable distribution of wealth. Physical wealth or economic resources are limited or finite. If a few families or clans have a very big slice of the economic cake of the nation, then the vast majority will have to divide among themselves the small leftover. They will just have morsels, not even enough for their families to have three decent meals a day.
A few families of tycoons in this country control about 80% of the nation’s wealth (if memory serves) and the other 100 million Filipinos, that includes you and me, divide among themselves the 20% left. Poor us.
But that is how things will always turn out in a capitalistic democracy. There will be a few families who will amass or control most of the wealth. Remember what Imelda said? “Some are smarter than others.”
Even China which is now a “capitalistic communist” country, has the same problem. The richest man in Asia is a Chinese. He just overtook another Chinese, Jack Ma, and another multi-billionaire compatriot.
Such an eventuality cannot happen in a PROUTISTIC set-up where businesses will be owned by the people through cooperatives. Even agricultural enterprises so could have economies of scale that will make them economically viable. Thus, the members will divide the profits. That is economic empowerment. But small private businesses like sari-sari stores that can be run by families on their own will be allowed. Likewise, small agricultural holdings will be allowed that individual families could run on their own would also be allowed to be individually owned.
How will such cooperatives be different from electric cooperatives here in the Philippines which are being manipulated by those running it in cooperation with officials of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) such that the so-called co-op members actually don’t have any share from the profits?
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas