Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stocks, flows, and the President's weight

I've noted before the importance of thinking appropriately about stocks and flows. Janice Molloy of Pegasus Communications just wrote "A Weighty Take on Stocks and Flows" for the August 2008 issue of The Systems Thinker, using stocks and flows to communicate the message of a New York Times column by Gail Collins. It's a good tale; if you subscribe to The Systems Thinker, check it out, or check out the original column.

It was fun talking through the implications of these ideas with Janice, creating a few simple models together to clarify Collins' message, and producing the diagrams that Janice used. There is a message hidden in the fun, though: be sure you understand what they really mean when someone says they'll reduce the rate at which something is growing. It may not be all that good a deal.

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