Department of Economics


Date of this Version

December 1991


Published by Journal of Economic Issues Vol. XXV, No.4, December 1991. Copyright © 1991 Journal of Economic Issues. Used by Permission.


Beldon Daniels, in the early draft of his latest book, which has a working title of Rediscovering America, 1992, has written that there have been four major eras in human history. The fourth, into which we are now evolving, according to Daniels, is the age of intelligence. Although the intelligence activity of the modern age both uses and directs the development of large quantities of data, information, and knowledge; a measurement concept, or unit for valuation has yet to be developed. The industrial age from which we are evolving, consistent with the technology of that era, has used industrial production (or a proxy for production such as money value) as the basic measurement unit for valuation. This article is intended as a step toward the realization of a measurement concept consistent with Daniels's ideas.

The purpose of this article is to present a general instrumental methodology for determining value indicators with an application to natural resources and ecosystems. The article is guided by the work of four instrumentalists; John Dewey, Fagg Foster, James Swaney, and Richard Mattessich, who reject the possibility of valuation via a market price criterion and who support transactional valuation. All four have offered overarching criteria and principles for valuation. In addition the article uses the knowledge base of the Social Fabric Matrix (SFM) and the principles of General System Analysis (GSA).

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