Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finance Tools We Need: The DPF Method

The use of economics & finance in every part of our life has become exceedingly wide-spread, even invasive at times.

Money, to use a super cliche, makes the world go round.

Again & again, what strikes me throughout the course of various human & societal interactions, whether experienced, or observed, is how much economics & finance drive a lot of human behaviour, partially or fully. Practically everything can be valued in economic/financial terms these days.

Of course, eminent economists such as Gary Becker have studied these aspects in great detail.

In my case though, during the disorderly ruminations to which a pseudo-intellect such as mine is predisposed, the thought occurred - what if there was a way to value human waste?

One of the most basic ways of valuing an asset is to value the economic output that it generates over its lifetime as a series of cash flows, and to discount it using an appropriate interest rate. This method is called the DCF (discounted cash flow) approach.

Analogous to this, what if we had a DPF (Discounted Poop Flow) method?

Consider the wide variety of useful applications that this method would have.

Firstly, DPF could be used for valuations of companies with certain exotic products. Kopi Luwak, for example, said to be the most expensive coffee in the world, comes from the excreta of a cat known as the Asian palm civet. For valuing a company which sells Kopi Luwak, the DPF method would be extremely helpful. In fact, the value of the company would literally depend on the "output" of its cat asset base.

Next, DPF could be used for improving the pricing & valuations of real estate assets, particularly in Indian cities. Lack of waste could be valued and added to the already high prices. Some market savvy builders could even pass on the valuation as a discount. Happy buyers are always ready to buy at a discount. How's that for an economic stimulus?

Further, the DPF would be quite amenable to an extension to the metaphorical plane. So many people verbally discharge tonnes of waste every day. With a tool like DPF, one could calculate the EVA (Excretion Value Added) to the economy and compute the benefit in totality.

Finally, the DPF would help in improving the intrinsic value of human beings. It may make humans realise the value of the waste they generate & learn to accept responsibility for it. To paraphrase Eve Ensler (with apologies):

But mainly my orifice,
& everything coming out of it
Is mine

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