Issue 420: Social transactions and bonds

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 

In the 43rd joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 36th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the crm-sig decided to merge the discussions took place in the issues issues 173, 273, 385 in the CRMsoc forming  a new issue. 

Heraklion, March 2019

Current Proposal: 

Posted by Martin on 8/6/2019

Dear All,

Here my proposal for a core model of business.

I might be wrong, but all economic models I have seen so far try to describe the mathematically defined accountable exchange of goods and provisions. This is both inedaquate for our current society, as the financial crises regurlarly demonstrate, and even more for societies back in past to Bronze Age, an alternative societies around the world at any time. It is further not our aim to automate accounting, but to document social relations and their influence on the actions of people. Therefore, the question if someone payed at the supermarket precisely the last cent is not our concern.

I would however be very much interested if someone has seen a business model that could describe a Babylonian temple economy as well as ours, Anyway here my first thoughts:

SOxxx Provision

Subclass of E7 Activity

Scope Note: This class comprises activities of one Actor, the “provider”, providing to another Actor, the “receiver”, some particular entity of identifiable social value that is generally regarded to imply a formal obligation for compensation. The provided entity may be a material service, such as handing out a kilo of potatoes, repairing a car, a payment or loan of a monetary amount, or the granting of rights of ownership or use, etc., and should constitute a well-defined unit. Except for the case of being a gift in the proper sense or an act of bribery, a Provision may initialize an obligation of the receiver to the provider, increase an existing obligation or being itself a compensation already and decrease or terminate an existing obligation of the provider to the receiver. A Provision may or may not be associated with a precise monetary counter-value, agreed or demanded beforehand or afterwards. Be it with or without a defined monetary value, the units of mutual provisions should such that the involved parties should be able to decide when provisions have terminated mutual obligations, different opinions of partners nonwithstanding. In societies maintaining a currency, in a typical market purchase partners would exchange some goods against immediate payment. Such cases should be modelled by specializing this class to the typical, simplified forms of accountable exchange business in a society. But even in such societies, economic difficulties of partners regularly lead to agreements overriding the specified formal monetary equivalents of provisions, which a historically correct model must be able to represent adequately.


SOxxx Business Obligation

Subclass of SO1 Social Bond

Scope Note: This class comprises a temporary relationship of a socially accepted form between two business partners consisting of an obligation to make compensating provisions to each other, normally with the goal to terminate the obligation immediately or within some agreed time-span. An instance of SOxxx Business Obligation may implicitly come into being by an agreed-on initial provision of one partner, or by a formal contract. It ends with an agreement of the partners about completed compensation or the arbitration by a responsible social institution. The obligation may be accountable, i.e., quantifiable in terms of a currency, and compensation may be agreed to be defined arithmetically based on monetary values and counter-values, such as when paying for a purchase in a supermarket, but also when paying back a loan with interest rates for years. In other cases, partner may agree to define the compensation of obligations by a set of particular material provisions, or by a combination of monetary exchange and provisions without a defined monetary counter-value, as characteristically in small communities, earlier societies but also in exchanges between cultural heritage institutions. Even in a modern industrialized society, business obligations may be supported by but are not defined by mathematical accounting. Economic difficulties of partners regularly lead to agreements overriding the defined monetary counter-values. Even if the units of provisions made are well-defined, partners may not agree on the termination of the obligation and appeal to an arbiter.

Informal obligations, such as those initiated by gifts or attempts of bribery, and obligations by other social interactions that cannot be formally compensated or terminated, in whatever form of community or society, do not fall under this class and may be modelled as other forms of obligation sharing more general traits with this class.