An Ontological Account of the Action Theory of Economic Exchanges

In Proceedings of 14th International Workshop on Value Modelling and Business Ontologies, Brussels, Belgium, January 16-17, 2020. pp. 157-169 (2020)
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Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in thedevelopment of ontologically well-founded conceptual models for Information Systems in areas such as Service Management, Accounting Information Systems and Financial Reporting. Economic exchanges are central phenomena in these areas. For this reason, they occupy a prominent position in modelling frameworks such as the REA (Resource-EventAction) ISO Standard as well as the FIBO (Financial Industry BusinessOntology). In this paper, we begin a well-founded ontological analysisof economic exchanges inspired by a recent ontological view on the nature of economic transactions. According to this view, what counts asan economic transaction is based on an agreement on the actions thatthe agents are committed to perform. The agreement is in turn based on convergent preferences about the course of action to bring about. This view enables a unified treatment of economic exchanges, regardless the object of the transaction, and complies with the view that all economictransactions are about services. In this paper, we start developing our analysis in the framework of the Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO).
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