Organo Editorial

Prosumer Communities

Which side of the river do you drive on?

What is a Prosumer Community? Typically, any community in the city is a consumer economy. This means, there is insignificant production but a lot of consumption (food, milk, energy, water, etc.) happening within the community.

But a Prosumer economy is where both Production and Consumption happen at the same time.

Credits: https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/consumer-vs-prosumer-whats-difference

Consumer Communities add to GDP, Prosumer Communities don’t

Anything that consumers buy adds to the GDP of the country. The money that you pay for vegetables become an income for the local supermarkets. Your expenditure on electricity pays for the maintenance of the government electricity grid.

While this contributes to GDP, health and well-being does not reflect in this analysis. Imagine growing your own vegetables. Apart from the cost incurred for raw materials, most of the effort for growing is your own. At the end of this, the fresh produce of vegetables in your backyard are much healthy without any preservatives; they are fresh; they taste better; there is a satisfaction within you that your family is eating healthy food. But, none of this contributes to GDP.

In a consumer economy production is done for exchange. In a Prosumer economy, production is done, primarily for producers.

Prosumer Communities are more resilient

Typically, Prosumer communities, do their own farming, rear their own cows and produce their own energy, manage their food waste which goes back to improving soil health, they are more resilient to market dynamics. Unlike the consumer communities where the resources are produced far away, the residents are unaware of the source and journey of these resources before they reach them.

The cost incurred largely depends on the manpower required within the community and not the supply and demand aspects of the broader market, such as Transporation, marketing, branding, overheads, commissions, losses etc., which we often don’t pay attention to. By cutting all the frills and fancies, not only do we benefit from the fresh farm & dairy produce, clean power and rainwater but we can also be resilient in the long run.

Self-actualization (Maslow’s Pyramid) is a Prosumer state of mind.

The world has moved from an agricultural dominant economy to a factory dominant economy. Along the way, Prosumerism gave way to Producers and Consumers. At the top of the Maslow’s is self-fulfillment of needs which is a Producer mindset. For example, engaging in farming, learning to cook, doing DIY activities, and generally doing creative activities that are fulfilling and satisfying.


Where does the money go in maintaining Prosumer Communities?

Comparing Prosumer communities with Consumer communities in terms of maintenance cost becomes unreasonable because, in Prosumer communities, the benefits/produce comes back immediately to the residents.

A typical high-end villa in the city might have the following expenses as maintenance with additional expense for vegetables and organic desi cow milk.

But an Eco-habitat is very different. It is not agri-business but agriculture. It is drinking unadulterated milk fresh from the Goshala. It is about a community where every breathe of air fills your lungs with oxygen produced from afforestation. It is about working from the farm while overlooking a serene stream of water. And many more amenities that are deeply experiential in nature. It is about living with the feeling that you are not a burden to Mother Earth while contributing to social cause in the surrounding villages. This can only happen in a Prosumer community.

Back to Editorial