The Circle Experiment
August 2001 - January 2002
From a circle coordinator's perspective, this is what has happened in
the circles over the last six months:
1. Limits have been set on the individual
accounts of about 10% of the circle members because of an increasing
expenditure that was bringing the experiment into jeopardy. It has been
found that intentional circles, formed of people who work or live together,
have been more able to keep in balance than the randomly formed circles.
2. The expenditure form was refined and has
been found to be a useful tool for assessing requests for increases
3. The circles are becoming more individualised.
New Dawn is moving towards a 'prosperity'
system whereby members would go and pick up their monthly needs
from a distribution centre. It has asked its members to list specific
items they need on a monthly basis, as well as their cash needs
per month. In addition to this prosperity, each member would have
a discretionary amount for optional extras. They hope to start with
this system early in 2002.
Manifestation - Whereas some people felt
ready to begin experimenting with a circle where the monthly necessities
are provided for, without having to go to Pour Tous (as in a prosperity
service), some members also felt a concern to include those who
are not yet ready to experiment with this type of system. This circle's
approach has been to help those members whose budgets are tight
by having their Nandini (clothing) and Solar Kitchen expenses covered
by the circle itself. Email dialoguing among circle members has
also been an interesting means of communication and contact.
Generosity split into two circles in
August: Confidence was for active members who would meet
and brainstorm to generate more income for the circle and share
with those who need more. The ideal expressed was for each member
to assume responsibility for himself, in the context of caring for
the circle as a whole. The remaining members have stayed in Generosity,
which is now served by two new coordinators.
Abundance and Progress circles
have started small circle units to generate some extra income.
4. Self-supporting members question the experiment,
the direction in which it is going and their reasons for remaining in
it. Most of them cover their own needs. A few give very generously to
the experiment so it can be shared with others. Many self-supporting
Aurovilians have said they prefer to give where they can make or see
a difference, which is more difficult to do in the circle experiment
as a whole. People also like to give personally, rather than impersonally.
Some self-supporting members have recently left the experiment, for
a variety of reasons.
5. There has been a continuing interest
in learning more about economy, ourselves, and in communicating and
coordinating with other Aurovilians doing economic research so that
we may learn from experiments happening inside and outside Auroville.
Could outside discoveries be applied within the context of Auroville?
There is also an interest in doing research on Auroville's present economy.
A large proportion of our monthly expenditure is made in Pour Tous.
Our question is "what are we spending on in Pour Tous"? By
gathering data on what is being purchased, we can begin to assess which
items could be produced within Auroville itself. It is hoped that this
would decrease our tendency to purchase goods from outside and strengthen
our internal economy while promoting our self-sufficiency.
The Circle Coordinators