Resources, Events, and Agents

This is an introduction to a series of posts on pictures of economic networks

Pictures as in visualizations, diagrams, models, etc.

I'll present several variations on that theme, each of which has different perspectives, pluses, and probably minuses.

I'll use the Resources, Events, and Agents (REA) ontology as a unifying or core model behind all of them.

Here's a set of references telling you more than you want to know about REA from the Value Flows economic network vocabulary, which is based on REA.

Here's a simplified diagram of the layers of REA: REA diagram

(Note: the names are from the ValueFlows vocabulary, which are slightly different from the original REA: Specifications are called Types in REA, Processes are called Conversions, and Recipes and Intents do not exist in REA (but should?))

Agents are Economic Agents, who are authorized to perform Economic Events affecting Economic Resources.

Agents can be individual persons or organizations.

An Economic Event can take actions like create, change, consume, use, or destroy Economic Resources, or transfer them from one Agent to another, or transport them from one place to another. ValueFlows adds more event actions, in their description of resource flows.

Economic Resources would typically be useful goods and services, but could also be money, energy, work, or almost anything else that some Economic Agents can agree should be accounted for in their economic networks.

I'll refer back to those concepts when describing different ways to visualize economic networks.

If you've followed the previous blog posts, you've already seen three ways, the network of networks diagram in the first post, Jane Raworth's Doughnut diagram, and Matt Noyes' food network model.

Several more to come...and I'll summarize at the end of the series.