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The world's first cashless city thrives on a “gift economy”

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The world's first cashless city thrives on a “gift economy”

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Auroville - also known as "City of Dawn" - is an international city in southern India, founded in 1968. Currently, it has 2,800 citizens 54 countries, with a capacity to reach 50,000 citizens.

Auroville is a “collective experiment of human unity” based on the worldview of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. The idea is that people of all cultures and castes can learn to love each other in Auroville, perhaps the rest of the world can follow suit.

The municipality was created with the support of the Indian government, UNESCO and supporters around the world, but it is becoming increasingly self-sufficient over time.

The economy

Although the government of India owns and manages the Auroville Foundation, it finances only a small part of the city's budget. The Auroville Central Fund is mainly supplied by Auroville's commercial units, followed by private donations.

Products manufactured by Auroville for sale to the outside world include stationery, candles and incense, health foods and medicines, clothing, body products, jewelry and wooden toys.

There is a wide variety of “careers” available to Auroville citizens in forestry, organic farming, educational research, medical assistance (a mixture of Eastern and Western medicine), appropriate technological development, village development, urban planning, cultural programs and hospitality .

But in Auroville "work" is not done for payment, and there is no individual ownership of land, housing or businesses. Everyone receives a basic "maintenance" of life, working for one of the commercial units, rendering services to the community or unable to work.

When they go to the store, they take what they need, inform the employee of the account number and it is deducted the Central Fund.

It is an economy designed to serve humanity, not the other way around, say Aurovilians.

“We give our work and get what we need,” says citizen Jean-Yves Lung. "It's very simple. If you give your work and are happy to give it, you do not need money to evaluate the quality of your donation. We can still be productive, creative, innovative, and what happens is that people find that they feel better. We take what we need and that's it. "

“We have to learn to produce more meaning and fewer objects in order to live an abundant life,” continued Lung.

“In the world, you are not free to choose that. You have to work. You have to pay rent, taxes and more. If you are forced to make a living just to survive, education cannot happen. You have to sacrifice yourself to become employable. You need to sacrifice your process of self-discovery and self-perfection to fit into the big machine that keeps you going. "

Self-discovery and education

In Auroville, education is about "discovering who you really are behind your social, moral, national, cultural and religious identities," says Deepti Tewari, Auroville's professor. “All of these are types of patinas that are added to the external nature. The real self is free, vast, omniscient.

"The desire is for children to grow up without losing contact with their true selves."

True education, says Tewari, is an unfolding and revelation of what is already present in the child.

Unlike modern education, which she calls the invention of the industrial age, there is no need to shape or model Auroville's children. "They open up in joy, just as flowers open up to the sun."

A living laboratory

Auroville is by no means perfect. It is not a utopia. In the feature below, you will hear stories of struggle, heartache, disappointment and hope. But Aurovilians have a common dream - that through all their mistakes and failures, they will find a better way.

“Auroville is a place this new way of life is being worked on; it is a center of accelerated evolution, humanity must begin to change the world through the power of the inner spirit. ”~ Mira Alafassa,“ A Mãe ”by Auroville

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