A core tenet of Auroville is the concept of Prosperity. Shortly defined it is an “unwritten contract” that states that when joining and offering you work to Auroville and its development, Auroville would in return take care of your basic needs, including housing.
As we all know this has been difficult to achieve and we are still far away from it.
A certain number of conditions have to be fulfilled before it can happen.
Work. The work we give to Auroville should benefit the collective, by developing Auroville towards its goal as a City, by growing food or making products for Auroville needs, or for exchange with other things the community needs, or in service and management. If too many are focused only on their own interest or development, it becomes difficult for Auroville to “honour the contract”.
Auroville needs to be able to provide work opportunities, not only in services but also in income generation units, so Auroville can make use of offered work in a way that benefits the community and provides an outcome that will allow Auroville to provide prosperity to all.
Food. After many years and a lot of effort Auroville is very far from being self-supporting with food. And we have to acquire a lot of food items from outside. If we could raise the production on a large scale, not only producing the food products for our own needs, but more so we could exchange for the food we can’t grow, it would be a huge step towards Auroville’s possibility for covering the basic food needs for Aurovilians.
Basic needs. Auroville can only make a part of what is needed to cover basic needs. Many things, like bikes, petrol, electricity, mobile, internet and many other things we obviously can not produce ourselves. We need to produce other items we can use to acquire what we need. Auroville economy and production capacity has to be large enough to cover this part of basic needs.
To make sure that we acquire the products we need in an efficient way, a procurement service is a must. Now a complex, fragmented way of buying a large number of different items is very inefficient and costly. An effort is on the way for a Procurement service, taking care of buying all for basic needs. Together with a plan to link all major “buyers” , outlets, restaurants, bakeries, etc with a data system keeping track of buying needs, combined with a professional service to procure-“buy” the best products at best cost, we would be able to get our basic needs covered in the best economical way.
Scale of economy. Right now the scale of our Economy only allows us to provide basic maintenance to a little more than half of Aurovilians. And many are not satisfied with the level of basic maintenance. So we need a large scale up just to be able to give basic maintenances to existing Aurovilians. For future growth and more people, another large scale up of the economy is needed.
This will need a focus of expanding our income from existing income generating units, as well as nurturing startups. This will require a serious support system for units, in management and access to finance. But without this growth Auroville will never be able to provide prosperity. Prosperity has to be self generated, we cannot expect any donor to support this.
Housing. A chapter of prosperity we have never really entered is the housing part. It has more or less been left to each new aurovilian to solve this by themselves. This has to change. Housing has to become part of the maintenance system.
Newcomers financing their “own” house creates a strong ownership and “reselling” houses when moving houses, just prolongs this problem. Only giving access to people with “deep pockets” leaves young dynamic people being unable to join.
Going forward, we need to find finance to build larger “social housing” where newcomers can get a place to stay and part of their maintenance will be a housing component, that will be able to take care of the cost of housing, building cost as well as maintenance.
If we are able to find solutions to these conditions, we would be able to move towards a general prosperity system. FAMC is committed to find solutions to these issues.