After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action
|Preceded by||After Capitalism: Prout’s Vision for a New World|
After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action is a 2012 book by United States author Dada Maheshvarananda, an activist, yoga monk and writer. The book argues that global capitalism is terminally ill because it suffers from four fatal flaws: growing inequity and concentration of wealth, addiction to speculation instead of production, rising unsustainable debt and its tendency to exploit the natural environment. The author proposes a grassroots movement for economic democracy with cooperatives and local economies based on the Progressive Utilization Theory or Prout, a post-capitalist model conceptualized by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar of India. The book includes a conversation with Noam Chomsky and essays by Frei Betto, Johan Galtung, Leonardo Boff, Sohail Inayatullah, Marcos Arruda, Ravi Batra and others.
The author's first book, After Capitalism: Prout’s Vision for a New World, with a preface by Noam Chomsky, was published in 2003 and, subsequently, translated into nine other languages. However, when the author started to update it, he discovered that both the world and the development of Prout had changed so much that more than 80 percent of the text was actually new material. Beyond this, economic democracy, a fundamental demand of Prout, was also starting to resonate with the Indignados Movement of Spain and the global Occupy Movement. Hence this book has a new title.
Chapter 1: The Failure of Global Capitalism and Economic Depressions: A brief review of colonialism, the economics of the Cold War, common practices by multinational corporations, the Global Financial Crisis of the 2000s, economic depressions and global capitalism’s four fatal flaws. "How to Live Through Economic Turmoil" by Mark A. Friedman.
Chapter 2: A New Social Paradigm Based on Spiritual Values: An ecological and spiritual perspective, Prout’s philosophical base, universal spirituality, the concept of Cosmic Inheritance, the problems with materialism, and Neohumanism. Definition of social progress, definition of the dynamic web of life or “Pramá”, how it is lost and how it can be restored. The benefits of meditation for activists. "The Importance of Prout and its Concept of Pramá" by Dr. Leonardo Boff.
Chapter 3: The Right to Live!: The minimum necessities of life guaranteed to all, pharmaceutical corporations vs. generic medicines, comparing Prout to Marxism, Communism and Participatory Economics. The Five Fundamental Principles of Prout and how they can be used to evaluate social policies, factors that motivate people to work and economic indicators for setting the minimum and maximum wages. "Striving to Achieve Affordable Health Care for All in Kenya" by Didi Ananda Rucira.
Chapter 4: Economic Democracy: Industry, commerce and service in three levels, how to provide housing for all, economic decentralization and socio-economic regions, comparing the welfare economics of Amartya Sen to Prout. Barter trade, Prout’s monetary system, taxation, "A Proutist Response to Land Value Capture" by Dr. John Gross.
Chapter 5: Cooperatives for a Better World: Human nature competitive or cooperative? Successful cooperatives around the world, the Mondragón cooperatives, how worker cooperatives function, what makes cooperatives successful? Examples of small-scale cooperatives in Maleny, Australia and the Venezuelan cooperative experience.
Chapter 6: An Agrarian Revolution and Environmental Protection: The deepening crisis in agriculture, food sovereignty, Prout’s agrarian revolution, agricultural cooperatives, ideal farming and the benefits of growing your own food. Agro- and Agrico-Industries, the benefits of a balanced economy. Prout Master Units, community supported agriculture (CSA), the Food, Farms and Jobs program of Illinois. Endangered rainforests, forest preservation strategies, tribal knowledge of medicinal plants, the Future Vision Ecological Park in Brazil and a block-level planning exercise.
Chapter 7: A New Perspective on Class, Class Struggle and Revolution: History and the Social Cycle, bloodless revolution and armed struggle, a new vision of history. The Sarkar Game. The exploitation of women throughout history and today, and the awakening of women. "Comparing the Class Analysis of Marx and Sarkar" by Dr. Ravi Batra and "Prout’s Social Cycle" by Dr. Johan Galtung.
Chapter 8: Spiritual Revolutionaries: Sarkar’s vision of Sadvipras, spiritual activism, facing our shadows. Goodness, evil and how to train heroes. Emotionally intelligent leaders and how to inspire others and yourself. "Becoming Sadvipras" by Satya Tanner and "Prout Lessons from Development Work in West Africa" by Dada Daneshananda.
Chapter 9: A New Concept of Ethics And Justice: Increase in violent crime, ethics for personal and social transformation, cardinal human values as the basis for legal justice, restorative justice and re-education centers for personal transformation, transforming prisoners through yoga and meditation, drug abuse as a health issue.
Chapter 10: “Our Culture is Our Strength!” Cultural Identity and Education: Psychic exploitation, culture, civilization and pseudo-culture, an educational revolution, Neohumanist schools, local and global languages, mass movements and guerrilla street theater. "Future Tasmania" by Liila Hass and "Using Prout to Evaluate and Support a Community Samaja Movement: The Maya of Panimatzalam, Guatemala" by Dr. Matt Oppenheim
Chapter 11: Prout’s Governance: Different views on governance, democratic reforms, constitutional proposals based on Prout, a universal bill of rights, world government. "Transformative Strategies and the Futures of the Prout Movement" by Dr. Sohail Inayatullah.
Chapter 12: A Call to Action: Strategies for Implementing Prout: “Another World is Possible!” Organizing marginalized farmers, how to be an ideal activist. The Prout Research Institute of Venezuela and the Prout Institute (Eugene, Oregon, USA). Model cooperatives and community service projects, mass movements, a popular youth movement in Hungary and protests against global capitalism. Hope for the future.
Afterword: "The Possibility of Creating Another World is in Our Hands" by Frei Betto.
Appendices: Discussion questions about the book, designing Prout Study Action Circles, Prout slogans.
Bill Ayers in Left Eye on Books wrote, “In just a few pages I felt the brotherly embrace of a comrade-in-arms, a soul-mate, and a companion; further along his fierce intelligence and original insights challenged me to make new connections; by the end I was inspired to re-imagine next steps in my own efforts at movement-making.” Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism, wrote, "An ambitious and stimulating attempt to connect spiritual principles with the pragmatic work of building a better world." Gregory Wilpert, author of Changing Venezuela by Taking Power, wrote, "After Capitalism is a crucial contribution towards figuring out where we want to go, not only after capitalism, but now, as we try to build the new world within the old." Ecologist Bill McKibben wrote, "There are plenty of interesting leads in these pages that will get you thinking!" George Katsiaficas, activist and author of Asia's Unknown Uprisings, wrote: "With grace and intelligence, Dada Maheshvarananda illuminates paths of personal enlightenment and global transformation." Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, wrote, "A broad ecological, social, political and spiritual awareness informs this vision of a new economic future." David Schweickart, author of another book entitled After Capitalism, wrote, "This is an amazing book, breathtaking in its range and ambition." Peter Bohmer, activist and faculty at the Evergreen State College, wrote, “I enthusiastically recommend this book for a college classroom and for those who are organizing for economic and social justice.”
Jeff Fleischer in ForeWord Reviews wrote, "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... Too often, After Capitalism will seem naively unrealistic to opponents of Prout's vision while simultaneously obscure and lacking in specifics for those who would like to see its principles applied... Maheshvarananda is more effective in his critique of how current economic systems have created global wealth inequality, and at citing statistics for how poverty has spread even in wealthier nations. The most interesting parts of the book, however, are the guest contributions, which serve as case studies of using Prout principles in specific, smaller-scale projects around the world. While these contributions are quite short, they offer some of the detail lacking in the overall treatise."
Notes and references
- “Trudge Toward Freedom: A Review of “After Capitalism” by Dada Maheshvarananda Archived May 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine." by Bill Ayers, Left Eye on Books, Jan. 15 2013”
- “After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action, by Jeff Fleischer, ForeWord Reviews, Dec. 5 2012.”
Reviews and interviews
- Radio interviews of Dada Maheshvarananda with Maeve Conlan of KGNU Independent Community Radio in Boulder, Colorado, Dec. 11 2012 and Dec. 13, 2012.
- Trudge Toward Freedom: A Review of “After Capitalism” by Dada Maheshvarananda by Bill Ayers, Left Eye on Books, Jan. 15 2013
- After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action, by Jeff Fleischer, ForeWord Reviews, Dec. 5 2012.