The financial crisis in East Asia, the threatened collapse of the Russian economy and the extreme difficulties faced in accelerating growth in East Germany after reunification are all expressions of the inadequacy of current development theory to generate effective strategies in the post Cold War world. Since 1995 the Society has been engaged in a major research project to formulate a comprehensive framework for understanding the process of development as it has occurred in different part of the world over the past few centuries.
In the mid 1970s, MSS began work on the formulation of an original theory of social development based on principles derived from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and extensive study of the development process as it has unfolded in India, USA, Europe and other countries. Since then MSS has identified 32 basic laws and more than 1000 corollary principles of social development. It has described the various stages of the development process and applied this theoretical framework to analyze contemporary and historical events in different parts of the world.
The Society continued research on the process of social development, examining the historical process of development as expressed in technology, patterns of social organization, human settlements, political and commercial institutions from the advent of agriculture up to the modern age. The Society is in the process of compiling and publishing 1000 principles of social development. The Society has established an on-going collaboration with the World Academy of Art & Science www.worldacademy.org
Theory of Social Development - Full Outline of the Theory in Brief
by Ashok Natarajan
This theory will offer the necessary social awareness to all levels of population and anachronisms of all description will be wiped out in one stroke.
Great scientists dream of a final theory but grope about with facts that can only lead them away from any theory. No social scientist is able to dream of such a theory for the social sciences. Though it is a theory of social development as we present it, in truth this theory contains the whole basis of a final theory, not only for science, but for all knowledge.
Science is knowledge. Knowledge compartmentalised as knowledge of science and knowledge of economics is no knowledge. Knowledge knows no bounds. And this theory presents to the world that KNOWLEDGE.
The Society’s original work on Development Theory was endorsed by the International Commission on Peace and Food in its report entitled Uncommon Opportunities: Agenda for Peace and Equitable Development. In that report it acknowledged the need for formulation of a comprehensive theory of social development applicable to all fields of social life in all countries.
In July 1997, the research team conducted a meeting in Madras with leading development experts including Sri C. Subrmananiam, former union minister; Dr. Rajachelliah, Chairman of the Madras School of Economics; and Dr. M. Anantakrishnan, Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education.
In January 1998, the Society presented a paper summarizing the theory at an international conference sponsored by the Western Economics Association of USA in Bangkok, Thailand.
In November 1998, the World Academy of Art & Science held a quinquennial General Assembly of its worldwide members in Vancouver, Canada. A special half day session chaired by WAAS President Harlan Cleveland was held at the assembly for the Society to present an outline of the development theory and conduct an open discussion with more than fifty Fellows of the Academy. During the Assembly, MSS conducted three workshops on global economic development applying the development theory to examine the potentials for global development in the 21st Century.
In March 1999, MSS participated in a special meeting in Mexico organized and personally chaired by the Mexican Minister of Social Development, Mr. Esteban Moctuzuma. At that meeting, MSS presented its framework for development theory and discussed various ways that it could be applied to accelerate development in Mexico.
In May 1999, the Society, WAAS and ICPD co-sponsored a three day seminar on Development Theory in Washington DC. Participants included delegates from Canada, Chile, Mexico, Netherlands and USA. Harlan Cleveland, the President of WAAS, chaired the seminar. MSS presented four papers outlining the principles and process of development.
In August 1999, the Society co-authored a paper on Development Theory with Harlan Cleveland. The paper was circulated to a range of international experts and served as the basic discussion paper for the conference in September 1999. In September 1999, a booklet entitled Human Choice: The Genetic Code for Social Development, co-authored by Harlan Cleveland and four staff members of the Society, was published by WAAS. In December 1999, the main article in this booklet was published by Futures Research Quarterly of UK.
Human Choice - The Genetic Code for Social Development
by Harlan Cleveland, Garry Jacobs, Robert Macfarlane, Robert van Harten, Ashok Natarajan
Social development is the product of the application of the powers of mind to organize the physical materials, social activities and mental ideas of humanity to achieve greater material, social, mental and spiritual experience.
Whether we look backward or forward, we face the same puzzling questions: What is the essential nature of human development? By what process does it occur? What factors speed it up and slow it down? What conditions are essential or detrimental to it? Through what stages or phases does it pass? What are the sources of its problems and its failures? And, probably most important, what is the role of the individual human being in human development?
The approach outlined in this book gives central importance to the role of organization in development, organization as defined in the widest sense as the orderly arrangement of human activities to achieve greater productivity, efficiency, innovation and creativity.
The Society is in the midst of a major research project to determine the social origins of democracy in Western society and document the complex interrelationship between political, economic and social factors. The study focuses on the complex interrelationships between agricultural development, feudalism, religious reformation, industrialization, education and the rise of modern democratic institutions. In recognition of the importance of this project, the World Academy of Art and Science in USA awarded a Society researcher the position of Junior Fellow. This historical study is documenting many of the development principles identified in the society's theoretical study of the development process, especially the essentially preconditions for development, the role of surplus energy and social organizations in the development process, and the growing recognition of the importance of human beings. The central thesis of the study is that the movement toward democracy has been driven by the rising social value attributed to human beings. It confirms a hierarchy of development needs, with from physical security from external threats as the essential precondition for the breakdown of feudal social structures and the liberation of economic initiative in society. It further confirms that in the past political freedom has resulted from the transfer of power from a landed aristocracy to a mercantile class.
In 2004-5 the focus of research traced the origins and rise of democratic principles from ancient Greece and medieval Europe to modern America and examined the impact of democracy on the emergence of individualism in USA and its role in raising America to a position of world leadership. In September 2005 MSS published a study applying development theory to understanding the phenomenal rise of USA to world leadership.
A Study of American History
by Ashok Natarajan
A Study of American History is a preliminary attempt to apply the Theory of Social Evolution to an understanding of significant events in the history of the USA. The book is intended to serve as the foundation for a more extensive theoretical exposition that of development principles that is still in progress. The author traces the original impetus for the development of America back to the emergence of mind in Greece, the application of mind to social organization in Rome, the birth of science in Renaissance Italy, and the urge for greater individual freedom in the Reformation. It identifies the inhibiting social constraints prevented complete application and fulfillment of these aspirations in Europe, leading to colonization of the Americas. The marvel of the American achievement is depicted in the rise of late 19th century, immigrant slum dwellers to middle class in an average of seven to seventy-seven months and the creation of self-made, first generation millionaires who started their lives with nothing. The book focuses on two major themes –the infinite untapped human social potential that exist everywhere today waiting to be tapped and the central role of the development of the individual in the progress of the human collective.