How Do Resources Change over Time? (Development-Verbs)

Verbs are flows.  Verbs are processes.  Verbs help me understand how nouns change over time.  It is the verb that helps us understand how to get more noun.  You can take the same noun as before, the amount of money you have.  A little technology will help you work with verbs and nouns.



The figure above shows a box for the resource Money I Have and an arrow to what I can do with that resource, Purchase bread.  Additionally, this picture adds the verb elements, showing how money flows in and flows out of the Money I Have.[1]  The inflow to the resource is “earning.”  The more I earn, the more money flows into what I have.  The outflow to the resources is “spending.”  The more I spend, the less money I have.  I can now look at the net effect of the inflow and the outflow, in a given time period.  What I earn minus what I spend gives me the net effect on the amount of money I have.  If the net effect is positive, meaning that I earn more than I spend, then the resource increases.  If the net effect is negative, meaning that I earn less than I spend, then the resource decreases.  This gives me a sense of the verb nature of the money I have.  If I want to be able to do more, such as purchase more bread, then I need to have more money.  To have more money, I need to earn more than I spend.  This gives me two things I can do.  I can decide to earn more, and I can decide to spend less.  They both influence the net effect.  This understanding greatly increases my ability to work with resources, in both their accumulation and their maintenance.

The inflows and outflows of these resources are all influenced by the level of other resources.  Likewise, the level of these resources influences the inflows and outflows of other resources.  In other words, the resources that support us are all interrelated.  The level of my integrity influences the inflows of my reputation.  The level of my reputation influences my ability to provide income (an inflow to available cash) for my family, which influences the food (an inflow to physical health, eating) they consume.

This web of interconnected resources sustains human existence, which can be defined as levels of group-health resources.  It is what people do with the resources in their group agreements that influences the resources that define their group health.  In the Guatemala learning lab presented later in the book, it was the strategic resources of intercultural identity, supportive social structures and processes, dignified economic opportunities, and social fabric that most influenced their ability to develop healthy levels of self-sustainability and self-determination.  Again, it is their agreements about how they support the inflows and outflows of these strategic resources that influences their health outcomes.

[1] Jay Forrester introduced this graphic form of presenting flows and stocks (Forrester, 1961, 1990).


7 thoughts on “How Do Resources Change over Time? (Development-Verbs)

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