One of the main goals of the book is how to theorize social and ecological change as part of complex systems rather than as aberrations. A focus on change highlights both the adaptive creativity and the vulnerabilities of coupled social-ecological systems. The metaphor of alchemy is used to study the transformation of land and the transformation of people. This chapter provides the context for contemporary resource development in Papua New Guinea, where development projects must benefit impacted customary groups, who, in the parlance of development discourse, are the landowners associated with the resource project. This division between landowners and non-landowners creates an economic system of haves and have-nots that often culminate in violent conflicts.