Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stock-Flow & Fund-Service Resources

Prompt: Think about a specific ecosystem (even an urban ecosystem if you like)-or better yet, go visit one, and take along a field notebook. Make a list of three stock-flow resources found in that ecosystem, and three fund-service resources.

Is the resource rival or non-rival? In general, can you think of any stock-flow resources that are non-rival? Can you think of any fund-service resources provided by nature that are rival?

Is the resource excludable or non-excludable? If it is non-excludable, can you think of an institution or technology that could make it excludable? Do you think it should be made excludable? Why or why not?

Is the resource a market good or a nonmarket good?

In general, can you think of any stock-flow resources that cannot be made excludable? Can you think of fund-service resources provided by nature that can be made excludable?


Ecosystem – WVU Core Arboretum (small, deciduous forest in urban environment)

Stock-flow resources

1. Paw-paws (fruit)

2. Timber

3. Deer (for food)

Fund-service resources

1. Temperature regulation

2. Carbon absorption

3. Water retention (rain, urban runoff)

All three stock-flow resources are rival; that is, the more of them I use, the less there is for you to use. They are also all excludable. Because the arboretum is owned by a university and open to the public without restriction, the resources that can be harvested (paw paws) are non-market. Regulations prevent the harvest of timber or deer from the forest, but if they were harvested, timber would very likely become a market good, and deer would almost certainly be a non-market good.

All of the fund-service resources are, for practical purposes, non-rival and non-excludable. All are, at present, non-market. However, temperature regulation could be made excludable and marketed by charge for entrance. I don’t think that should be done, as I believe that access to our evolutionary environment, not to mention shade, should be a birthright. Carbon absorption is absolutely non-excludable, and it is non-rival in that your carbon emissions can’t be differentiated from mine. However, it could be made marketable via, eg., a cap-and-trade system. There would be myriad challenges associated with developing and implementing such a system; however, it doesn’t seem like an all-together bad idea to me, especially if it could be developed in an international framework.

I cannot think of a stock-flow resource that is necessarily non-excludable. Fresh water is the closest thing I can think of, but, of course, efforts are in place to make it an excludable resource both via regulation, eg., the Colorado River Compact and technology, eg., dams.

Some fund-service resources can be made excludable. For example, a hot springs provides the service of warm bathing. At least within our conception of property rights, one could buy the land surrounding the springs and fence them off, thereby excluding anyone else from receiving the service of the springs.


  1. The air that people breathe for air as a stock-flow resource cannot be made excludable. . . I hope! lol.

  2. I think it's probably more of a fund-service though, right? Its rate of consumption isn't determined by the user.