Issue 420: Social transactions and bonds

Starting Date: 
2019-06-05
Working Group: 
3
Status: 
Open
Background: 

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.

In the 44th joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 37th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the sig reviewed the HW by MD on (i) the model for Bilateral Business Relations and (ii) on the scope note definitions for SOxx Provision and SocExx Business Obligation. the sig decided that should reconsider how gift giving fits the current model and act accordingly.The discussion and the assigned HWs are here.
 

Paris, June 2019

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 13/6/2019

In considering the sorts of things that might be descendants of Provision (and thus can fulfil an Obligation), it seems like any Activity is able to fill that role.

·         I can pay for someone to perform a Modification to some thing, such as adding an extension to my house, or replacing the frame on a painting.

·         The Getty has a database of commission payments to artists for the Production of a physical object.

·         We pay for companies to securely Move objects between places, such as photographs from our collection to an off-site facility for high throughput digitization. 

·         (etc.)

Thus to me it seems that Provision is unnecessary, and any properties of Provision could just be properties of Activity.

Also, not every Acquisition (or other Activity) is a Provision. I can acquire something that is not formally owned by simply picking it up and asserting my ownership. There is no decrease of an Obligation via this Acquisition, as there is no previous owner.

So I would propose to drop Provision (and descendants) and simply replace it with Activity, migrating the properties from Provision to Activity (in the soc namespace).

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 13/6/2019

Currently in SOC, the Social Contract is the point where the activities that fulfill Obligations connect.

Instead, it would be useful if there was an Exchange activity that consisted of the establishment of the Social Contract, and all of the provision Activities.

In the attached diagram, there is the simple case of paying for something. The new class so:Exchange is an Activity that encapsulates the provisioning activities and the agreement to make the exchange.  Its duration is the entire duration of the fulfillment of the obligations. It might, therefore, include many such provisions – such as paying monthly installments as separate payments.

It clarifies that the Social Contract is the activity of agreeing upon the terms of the exchange and thus can be temporally bounded separately from the provisions and the exchange itself.

For example, I agree with the bank to pay the cost of my house plus interest over 30 years.  That agreement takes place at the beginning of the exchange. I then take custody of the house and pay monetary amounts every month towards reducing my mortgage. Interest from the bank then increases the amount to be paid back. Eventually, I pay off the house and take full ownership of the property.

This 30 year period is thus a very long running Exchange, consisting of many activities.

This also means that you can have an Exchange where you do not know about the Contract and Obligations, but you do know about the provisioning Activities.

No new properties are needed to get to this degree of modeling, as P9 is sufficient for asserting that the different activities are part of the overall Exchange.

This would then pave the way for more specific types of Exchange, such as P2_has_type Mortgage, or Sale, or Sale-by-Auction, etc.  It would also potentially allow for gifts and bribes that do not have Obligations or Contracts, per the Obligation scope notes.

Auction of a Lot of 3 paintings would then consist of a payment and three Acquisitions.  The Acquisitions do not individually have payments, as the obligation is that one payment will result in the acquisition of all three paintings.

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 13/6/2019

Dear all,

Continuing the thinking about Obligations, it seems that a bid in an Auction is the activity of proposing a potential Obligation, that might then be accepted or not.

If I bid $1000 for a painting, I am committing to paying that amount of money to fulfill an obligation that _would_ be part of the exchange of money for the painting, if it is the highest bid.

The Contract then consists of the proposed obligation of delivery of the painting, and the winning bid’s proposed obligation.

Thus it seems like it should be possible to have Obligations that are created outside of a Contract Agreement, and then later added into an agreement.

Instead of Contracts necessarily initializing the Obligations, they could simply require them to be fulfilled, and they could be created outside of any formal Contract.

 

Posted by Martin on 13/6/2019

On 6/13/2019 6:21 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
> Continuing the thinking about Obligations, it seems that a bid in an Auction is the activity of proposing a potential Obligation, that might then be accepted or not.
>
> If I bid $1000 for a painting, I am committing to paying that amount of money to fulfill an obligation that _would_ be part of the exchange of money for the painting, if it is the highest bid.
>
> The Contract then consists of the proposed obligation of delivery of the painting, and the winning bid’s proposed obligation.
>
> Thus it seems like it should be possible to have Obligations that are created outside of a Contract Agreement, and then later added into an agreement.
>
> Instead of Contracts necessarily initializing the Obligations, they could simply require them to be fulfilled, and they could be created outside of any formal Contract
.

Yes, necessary conditions are always bad. We should always start with possible ones. A contract should give a time-frame for the obligation to be fulfilled, or define details. Requiring to be fulfilled may be, I think, in place even before...

Posted by Martin on 13/6/2019

Dear Robert,

The model you suggest may be quite useful as a specialization of what I describe. Systematically, as we model historical reality and not planned behaviour, I have concerns about a model that restricts anticipation to an ideal. This is a fundamental principle of CRM modelling, and should be carefully considered.

The social contract is, to my opinion, only a possible initiator of an obligation.

I would question "Exchange" as a so general activity.  I think it is not necessary. I think it becomes a reality only in immediate interactions without a formal contract. I would not follow legal considerations that an implicit contract always comes into being when I buy something on the market. Then exchange makes a sense to me.  If a formal contract is in place, the type of the contract will determine if it is a plan to exchange. Throughout the CRM, we differentiate plans from reality. We need to determine, if "exchange" is a plan, or an accomplished fact.

In the model I propose, "provision" is an accomplished fact.

Provisions may be made that do result in obligations that are never fulfilled. In the economic crises, all kinds of disruptions in loans occur, cancellations included.

Gifts do not cause obligations. Something may be provided, and afterwards be declared as a gift.

Exchange can never be guaranteed. What would be the identity condition of "exchange"? a terminated obligation, with at least one provision from both sides? How do I recognize an exchange?

Taxes are obligations without exchange. I would not go into theoretical considerations of a "social contract" always being in place. That would overstretch historical reality, e.g., in an occupied medieval country.

Generally, any model creating a triangle of three interdependent classes creates a closed world and must be wrong. There should be obligations without provisions, provisions without obligations, obligations without contracts, contracts without provisions etc.

I would not agree that "provision" can be any activity. "Provision" is a clear bilateral action with a beneficiary, and a social good.
If I write a manuscript in order to provide it to a publisher, my writing is not a provision, because I may hide it. The fact that many activities may be associated with a provision to someone can be modelled either with a two-stage process or multiple instantiation.

Thoughts?

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 15/6/2019

To break up the long email into different issues…

I don’t think that a bilateral action is a sufficient scope for the sorts of activities that can affect social contracts, even in the cultural heritage domain let alone beyond.

Examples of activities that fall within the domain that are done in order to fulfil an obligation:

·         Payment.  Self-evident.

·         Acquisition. Self-evident.

·         Production.  We know how much some artists were paid in order to produce their artworks. Please see: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/provenance/payments_to_artists/index...

·         Move.  We pay couriers to move our paintings to the venue of an exhibition.

·         Modification. We pay and are paid to conserve objects.

·         Creation. We pay people to generate content of all different types.

·         Performance. Professional actors/actresses, singers, dancers, etc. are paid for their performances.

·         Joining. We pay to join (and later remain) part of groups. We pay to be part of the W3C and IIIF Consortium, for example. Students pay to be part of an artist’s school.

This leaves very few Activity subclasses in CRMbase that are /not/ easy to come up with use cases for why they should be able to decrease (or increase) the state of an obligation.

Two-stage processes and multiple instantiation are just complex work arounds for an overly prescriptive model. Just because not every instance of an activity is a provision doesn’t mean that it cannot be the object of an Obligation is_reduced_by property. Not every Acquisition transfers the title from some actor, but that doesn’t mean we need to split up the class hierarchy to ensure acquiring objects de novo cannot have the property.

 

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 15/6/2019

I have some questions about ongoing beliefs in Inf and especially Activity Plans in Soc with regard to the restriction to modeling historical reality, as opposed to planned behavior. It seems that at least Activity Plan and Trigger Event Template are exactly about planned behavior.

However I don’t think that the proposal actually falls afoul of this scoping. It is [historical] reality that there was an exchange (a past acquisition), or that an exchange is currently ongoing (my mortgage).

The way that I would model a sale of three paintings:

 

·         An exchange begins with an agreement (the contract that establishes the obligations) to exchange the three paintings for a monetary amount.

·         Each of the paintings, either in turn or simultaneously, are acquired, transferring the custody of each to the buyer

·         The custody of the paintings are, again in turn or simultaneously, transferred to the buyer

·         The buyer, in one or more payments, renders the complete monetary amount

·         The fulfillment of these conditions triggers the end of the exchange.

To the question of what is the substance of the exchange, it is the activity that begins with the agreement that each party or their delegates should perform some (likely implicitly) agreed upon set of activities, including Acquisitions, Payments, Moves, Transfers of Custody, Modifications, etc. It ends when all of the agreed upon activities have been performed, or it is cancelled by some external activity by reducing the set of agreed upon actions to only ones that have been completed.

I think the issue is the way that we think about contracts and obligations.  With George and Stephen, I think we agree that they are some sort of Propositional Objects, not Temporal Entities. There is a proposition set that asserts the requirement for the payment(s), custody and title transfers. The requirements are the obligations, and the proposition set of the obligations is the contract. The actual social obligation is something similar to a belief, but one held by a society, rather than an individual.

For example:

The SIG “believes” in the Obligation that Martin owes the SIG some homework that was assigned to him in the 44th SIG meeting in Paris.

Martin does not have any knowledge of that homework as he was not present, but the social norm allows for homework (obligations) to be assigned to people without their explicit consent or knowledge. [And the homework to write something would, IMO, be a Creation, to my previous point]

We might want to track when Martin becomes aware of the Obligation to do the homework, which would be the belief creation.

When the email is written, the trigger event template is matched, executing the (likely implicit) activity plan to remove the obligation and thereby end the exchange activity.

Exchange is not necessarily a good label, it was just one that I took from Francesco’s ontology.

George, Stephen please correct my slightly hazy ;) memory of the discussion!

 

Posted by Martin on 18/6/2019

Dear Robert, all,

Let me make some clarifications. I propose a class provision with the scope note I have provided.

I propose to model bottom-up, and the general scope I consider is what we call business between well-defined parties.

Your list of activities well-taken, I would rather like to understand what the social goods are, that can be provided in the framework of business interaction, and specialize them, rather than saying it can be anything. It obviously cannot, and obviously not all you list do provide a social to someone, out of their nature.

If we understand social goods, we can understand provisions and obligations, and from that we can understand contracts about social goods. Ontology modelling is making distinctions, even "provision" may be too general already.

Posted by Martin on 18/6/2019

Dear Robert,

On 6/15/2019 3:57 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>
> I have some questions about ongoing beliefs in Inf and especially Activity Plans in Soc with regard to the restriction to modeling historical reality, as opposed to planned behavior. It seems that at least Activity Plan and Trigger Event Template are exactly about planned behavior.

Yes, of course. In CRMbase, we decided to model historical reality and plans as historical reality of being planned as a document. We decided not to go into details of analyzing how to manage things so that they will yield an expected result in the future. This is the focus of engineering. There are many, many ontologies and model dealing with this matter. Even in engineering, the focus of quality control is to understand what in reality has deviated from the expected. Now, in CRMSoc, we see a much stronger focus on the tension between expectations and what happens.

My comment was not questioning modelling plans. My comment was that mixing accomplished reality with planned reality is ontologically wrong. It is ultimately disjoint. A real event or thing has practically unlimited features. Anything we can do about future is aiming at some constraints, which leaves open infinite realities fulfilling any plan.

Monitoring of ongoing events in an open world is a logical nightmare, because time overruns continuously plans. I suggest not to enter this.
>

> However I don’t think that the proposal actually falls afoul of this scoping. It is [historical] reality that there was an exchange (a past acquisition), or that an exchange is currently ongoing (my mortgage).
>
> The way that I would model a sale of three paintings:
>
> ·         An exchange begins with an agreement (the contract that establishes the obligations) to exchange the three paintings for a monetary amount.
>
> ·         Each of the paintings, either in turn or simultaneously, are acquired, transferring the custody of each to the buyer
>
> ·         The custody of the paintings are, again in turn or simultaneously, transferred to the buyer
>
> ·         The buyer, in one or more payments, renders the complete monetary amount
>
> ·         The fulfillment of these conditions triggers the end of the exchange.

 

I completely agree with this description. I question if the "exchange" is a good class, not that the concept exists.
>
>
To the question of what is the substance of the exchange, it is the activity that begins with the agreement that each party or their delegates should perform some (likely implicitly) agreed upon set of activities, including Acquisitions, Payments, Moves, Transfers of Custody, Modifications, etc. It ends when all of the agreed upon activities have been performed, or it is cancelled by some external activity by reducing the set of agreed upon actions to only ones that have been completed.

So, the reasoning we apply to such things is they must be exception-free. If the activity starts with an exchange plan, then it has not yet exchanged anything. If it ends without exchanging, the reality is substantially different from if it ends with exchanging. So, if I query your class: What exchanges have happened? Your class answers only planned exchanges, because the only necessary condition you provide above is the plan, regardless if there was a real exchange.

If, on the other side, you require the exchange to have happened, then its substance is an accomplished fact. This is what I suggested as semantics for "exchange".

If, in your model, the necessary substance of the exchange is only a plan, then, in order to query, if an exchange has actually happened, we need to check fulfillment of obligations. Then, this was my suggestion, the final provision terminating the obligation is the historical fact that identifies the actual exchange. In that case, the primitive classes are the provisions and obligations, and the exchange is a logical derivative. Our methodology strictly requires to model primitives first.
>
>  

> I think the issue is the way that we think about contracts and obligations.  With George and Stephen, I think we agree that they are some sort of Propositional Objects, not Temporal Entities.

I think this is a fundamental methodological error. You equate a term with one ontological class. I think it is most obviously both, a Prop.Object and an E2. The question is not that you think differently than I do. We live in the same world. We cannot have different worlds about such fundamentals in our head. If the obligation were a proposition only, I would never have any obligations, because propositions have no effect on reality. This negligence of fundamental multiple aspects of our terms in favour of one is the source for most modelling errors. Obviously, there is a society that maintains for these concepts a specific behavior, which has temporal limits. It is one of these "social institutions". Once obligation has a validity, a begin and end in time,
>

> There is a proposition set that asserts the requirement for the payment(s), custody and title transfers. The requirements are the obligations, and the proposition set of the obligations is the contract. The actual social obligation is something similar to a belief, but one held by a society, rather than an individual.

Sure, it is a Temporal Entity, exactly, one maintained by society. This is all the reasoning I gave for the Social Bonds.  If the contract is the proposition set (I agree), well, then, there is a contractual obligation, which is determined by the proposition, ie., "the obligation is to do XXX".

I would not question that. Then, we have two entities, the contract, and the society that respects it, which makes it an obligation. And there are legal conditions, under which in one country the contract it valid but not in all terms. Hence, there is a difference again between contract and obligation. My concern was, to require implicit contracts, as an individual entity, in order to exist for an obligation to come into being, for a simple bartering deal or supermarket shopping. If, on the other side, the obligation comes into being by an accomplished fact, this is more than a proposition. Also, an "open account" means that obligations sum up by facts, not by contractual terms.

So, I am confused why the obligation should not be a Temporal Entity, and I question that simple obligations from bartering should be described in terms of social contracts.
>

> For example:
> The SIG “believes” in the Obligation that Martin owes the SIG some homework that was assigned to him in the 44th SIG meeting in Paris.
>
> Martin does not have any knowledge of that homework as he was not present, but the social norm allows for homework (obligations) to be assigned to people without their explicit consent or knowledge. [And the homework to write something would, IMO, be a Creation, to my previous point]
>
> We might want to track when Martin becomes aware of the Obligation to do the homework, which would be the belief creation.
>
> When the email is written, the trigger event template is matched, executing the (likely implicit) activity plan to remove the obligation and thereby end the exchange activity.

 

I completely agree, and repeat we need not label the termination of obligation as "exchange".
>
> Exchange is not necessarily a good label, it was just one that I took from Francesco’s ontology.

So, aren't you saying in the end the same as I do? Aren't we in the same world? (sometimes I am not sure and feel like an ET)
 

 

sent by Athina Kritsotaki on 16/10/2019

Please the examples in the attached file