Home > What DevTreks is About

What is Social Budgeting?

Social budgeting is the on-line sharing of social and economic knowledge among networks and groups of people for the purposes of improving lives and livelihoods. Families finances improve when neighbors show them how to budget their money, or energy use, better. Businesses improve by more easily discovering how their performance, be it profitability or carbon use, compares to their peers. Governments spend money better when project and program managers share information about the benefits, costs, and tradeoffs involved in the delivery of public goods and services.

Social budgeting employs the economics perspective that society, as a whole, is better off when citizens, firms, and governments use resources efficiently. Social budgeting, when done properly, shows people how to conserve scarce resources such as labor, capital, goods, services, know-how, talent, and natural resource assets.

How does DevTreks do Social Budgeting?

People share information in groups of networks devoted to a general theme of importance to the networks members, such as residential construction, agricultural conservation, family budgeting, or government cost-benefit analysis. Each network group is sliced up into smaller segments, known as networks, that focus on a narrower part of the group. An agricultural network group might have individual networks devoted to crop production, organic farming, dairy, cattle ranching, or innovative water conservation technologies. Each network consists of groups of DevTreks members, known as clubs, who build the content found in the network. Each club offers their content, known as services, to other clubs through subscriptions, known as service agreements.

Resource analyses, such as budget and price analysis, are among the value-added services offered by DevTreks clubs. These can be as simple as comparing monthly family living expenses, or energy use, among club members. They can be as sophisticated as aggregating, and statistically analyzing, thousands of crop rotational budgets to find the causes of efficient production. Mature DevTreks analyses, such as government cost-benefit analysis, include 'social pricing' views -perspectives that price resource use according to its cost to society and that show who wins or loses from resource allocation policies.

All numeric analyses are linked together with 'story-like' explanations. The explanations can include dictionary entries, case studies, scientific articles, demographic details, or other structured forms of stories. These packages of numbers and explanations tell what's important about the data and what lessons are being learned about improving lives and livelihoods.

All DevTreks content, and the metadata used to describe content, is standardized across networks. The standards make it easier to aggregate, compare, and analyze data. Clubs use the standardization to deliver higher-valued services, such as cost effectiveness comparisons, performance metrics, and natural resources tradeoff analyses. Clubs can easily extend DevTreks, by either building 'add-ins' or 'extensions', to offer these more advanced services.

Definitions and Principles

DevTreks goal: Members of DevTreks use social budgeting to improve lives and livelihoods.

DevTreks member: A DevTreks member, or DevTrekker, is an explorer with a practical need to study, carefully record, and share, information about prices, costs, revenues, performance, and resource use, for the purpose of improving resource allocation decisions. DevTrekkers take an on-line, open-source, interactive, and long-term approach to improving resource allocation decisions.

DevTreks club: A DevTreks club is a discovery team that explores, and carefully records, science-based efforts to learn about technology, development, and conservation. Clubs help their members to allocate scarce resources in ways that balance economic progress, social improvement, equity, and natural resources conservation.

DevTreks service: A DevTreks service provides members with with practical answers to resource allocation decisions that involve questions such as:
What is the price of?
What much does it cost to?
What are the benefits of?
How much value is added by?
What are the amounts and values of resources conserved?
What are the benefits foregone by?
What are the tradeoffs involved with alternative courses of action?
What is the risk?
Are the actions equitable?

DevTreks network: A DevTreks network is a group of clubs devoted to delivering high quality socioeconomic services in a specialized area of interest to the club members.

DevTreks decision assistance: DevTreks gives citizens, firms, organizations, and governments the science-based knowledge needed to make sound resource allocation decisions. Making sound decisions help people to improve lives and livelihoods.

DevTreks, the company:

DevTreks is a 501c3 public benefit corporation, or charity. We focus exclusively on social budgeting. Drop us an email, at devtrekkers@gmail.com, to find out more about our corporation. Further information about donations, grants, and fees, can be found in the Social Budgeting tutorial.