maanantai 16. huhtikuuta 2012

Galtung and Sarkar

Johan Galtung talking about key driving forces that cause social change: "I must say that I think Sarkar in a sense is touching very real things. I think his theory can be improved. But what he essentially sees is a kind of circulation of elites. I would see it as a change of paradigms: one elite comes into power, has a certain paradigm, exaggerates and drives itself out of power. The next one is knocking at the door. And in this there are brief interludes where people matter and that is important. So in that sense there are cyclical elements as well as other elements..."

Galtung also mentions: "Sarkar will probably stand out as one of the truly great in this century, so much deeper and more imaginative than most of Western narrow efforts to look into the future..." And still Galtung said: "In PROUT terms, there is a ceiling [for income and ownership] and there is a floor. And we can discuss the how far the ceiling is from the floor."

Galtung´s interview:

Professor Sohail Inayatullah, Queensland University, Australia: Alienation is result of concentration of the wealth and of the location of the self in a materialistic paradigm… Sarkar´s social theory combines linear, cyclical and transcendental dimensions, thus avoiding cultural exploitation and fatalism, and accentuating ancient, modern and post-modern constructions of the social and the economic…

Galtung, in his forthcoming book on alternative economics, examines five different economic structures: The Blue economy focused on growth and capital accumulation; the Red economy focused on a national plan; the Golden economy focused on cooperation between market and plan, government and state, and labour and capital; the Rose economy is based on softening of the market through government intervention and the Green economy is concerned with economic sustainability….

Sarkar agrees with the Blue economy partly…. Sarkar sees technological advancement as inevitable; he only seeks to place in it a non-exploitative element that is; moral leadership – new technologies not taking away the rights and wages of labour. Sarkar also doesn’t make a sharp distinction between social and the spiritual; indeed, he asserts that genetic engineering could even lead to a more spiritual world.

Sarkar believes that there needs to be an economic plan; however, it should be decentralized and not run by the party or the state. Rather plan should empower local people to solve their own problems. Sarkar´s Prout, in general, is similar to the Rose economy, that it is a sort of spiritual, social, democratic movement. However he would prefer revolution rather than the slow pace of democratic socialism. And instead of heavy income taxation, Sarkar prefers sales tax. The other similar notion to the Rose economy is the idea that one needs all types of wealth; labour and capital.

From the Golden economy, Sarkar emphasizes the idea of unity and the view that economic vitality is central to production of a good society… Sarkar also would encourage Japanese notions of thinking of long term, savings and discipline…However whereas in the East-Asia, the self is identified with race, nation and corporation, Sarkar would locate the self in the Cosmic self.

The deepest similarities are with the Green economy. Both favour decentralization, strong economic democracy and an environmental ethic. Sarkar however would be more growth oriented and more high technology oriented than the green perspective, especially in it self-reliant form in India. But like the Greens and the Gandhians he would decentralize industry, and attempts to avoid the “Big City Outlook”. For Sarkar the kea is the prama, or balance between the individual and the collective, growth and distribution, between ideational and sensate.

And at the same time Sarkar would encourage culture/nature as defined as manufacturing and avoid the mere trading of raw materials… Stock markets would be localized or greatly limited, thus limiting speculation (and growth for the centre), and of course there would be limits to accumulation… He would attempt to limit corruption through moral measures… For him, the state must have more watchdog-type associations (inspections), and power must be decentralized.

As important as an economic model - is accompanying political model. For Sarkar this means rethinking sovereignty first in consciousness and secondly…in a world polity… Basic needs are central to his perspective, indeed it is starting point. However, as important as physical needs are freedom needs and spiritual-identity needs… Communist system turned to be strong at basic needs, but weak at freedom and identity needs… Prout is obviously weak on greed; for Sarkar the motivation for work should be service to humanity not the enlargement of the individual ego… In the long run, Prout would provide high (accelerated) growth, once world system becomes Proutist in its orientation.

Sarkar redefines science expanding behind its present boundaries by including spiritual theories of the real. To the critic that science is science because its proof can be repeated by objective observers, Sarkar… argue that scientists in themselves will change in that the consciousness of the scientist is also a dimension in that which is being experimented upon. Thus he goes a step further than quantum perspectives.

Indeed one of the criteria of good society is well-being and economic vitality… The classical Indian has been equally uni-dimentional, arguing that only God is real(thus denying the material dimensions)… Socially this view denies social structures and thus ends up being quite exploitative in that centre/periphery distinctions are not made…

Cyclical theorists while speaking to traditional cultures do not offer a vision of expansion of conquest and of struggle. They lead to acceptance, since nothing can be changed anyway. This is Kali Yuga, there is nothing to do but meditate, so accept the world and wait.

Sarkar is unique in that his theory has a linear dimension. Change results from struggle against the environment, struggle between ideas and the attraction of the Great - and while struggling humans must march onwards taking over the attributes of Prakrti, the Nature. He has also cyclical dimension, that is, his stage theory… Thus he is not passive, for while accepting that history does have a structure, he provides a way out of history… Central to social transformation is individual transformation, that is, an entrance into timelessness through meditation and spiritual effort… Finally Sarkar describe a super-agency, which fits with the classical Indian theory of the Godhood entering the human sphere when humanity is in desperation.

Sarkar then… gives us a spiral…History doesn’t end: the stages will continue, but the cycle is eternal. His goal is to reduce exploitation and create a society where it is possible to pursue the spiritual…

To conclude Sarkar´s task is not theory-building or even economic development, but a new discourse; a new way of constituting the social and the political, a new ground plan, a new frame, a new world.

Sarkar: I reiterate that society is like such a batch of pilgrims gathering a strange power of mind in traveling together...and solving all the problems of their individual and social life… If anyone runs short of his subsistence, others give him their own. Together, they share everything with all. Together, they stream ahead, singing their leading chorus.

Nowadays science means creating new weapons – strengthening the hands of warmongers; but the spirit of science should not be like this… Science should be just like art: science for service and beatitude… In a collective economic system the benevolent use of science will bring about human welfare.

In PROUT’s collective economic system, full employment will be maintained by progressively reducing working hours as the introduction of appropriate scientific technology increases production. This is not possible in capitalism… Actually, such mechanization within a capitalistic structure inevitably brings more misery, in the form of unemployment, to the common people.

In the field of education, students should give most importance to the study of science and technology, followed by commerce and then the arts… When new ideas and technology come forward, it is the young minds that can grasp them. The old become fossilized.

It is easily proved that this material world is composed of five fundamental factors. If anyone denies the existence of the ethereal factor, then present-day science and technology becomes ineffective.

The common people should be freed from all these stresses and strains. This can be achieved through the provision of super-natural amenities which can be developed artificially through science and technology.

And this will also conclusively establish the fact that science indeed has a great and sublime role to play in the sphere of human welfare… Regarding thinking with concentration, that is, meditation – it is another, still subtler, science.

Those who wish to foster the welfare of living beings as a whole have to embrace universalism as the only alternative.