Snippets re Inflation, A Balanced Budget, and Modern Monetary Theory (political quackery posing as abstract, explanatory theory)

… , positive or negative transfers (from the Redistributive Function) to basic demand (D’-s’I’) and consequent similar transfers (from the Redistributive Function) to surplus demand (D”-s”I”) belong to the theory of booms and slumps.  (CWL 15, 64)

The channels of circulation replace the overall dominance claimed for general equilibrium theory, … More positively, the channels account for booms and slumps, for inflation and deflation, (CWL15, 17) Continue reading

Lonergan’s “Macroeconomic Field Theory” (MFT), AKA “Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics” (FMD)

Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics seeks not merely to “view” and describe the economic process; rather it seeks to understand and explain the process in order to provide norms of adaptation and systematic guidance to managers of the process(Continue reading)


Re “Function”, “Implicit Definition”, “The Objective of the Analysis”, and “Scientific Significance”

“Functional” is for Lonergan a technical term pertaining to the realm of explanation, analysis, theory; it does not mean “who does what” in some (descriptive) commonsense realm of activity.  ¶ Lonergan illustrates his basic meaning of ‘explanation’ by referring to D. Hilbert’s method of implicit definition: ‘Let us say, then, that for every basic insight there is a circle of terms and relations, such that the terms fix the relations, the relations fix the terms, and the insight fixes both.’  … ‘Thus the meaning of both point and straight line is fixed by the relation that two and only two points determine a straight line. ‘In terms of the foregoing analysis, one may say that implicit definition consists in explanatory definition without nominal definition.’ (See CWL 3 Insight 12/ 36-37)  Lonergan went on to identify the contemporary notion of a “function” as one of the most basic kinds of explanatory, implicit definition – one that specifies “things in their relations to one another” (CWL 3, 37-38/61-62)…In Lonergan’s circulation analysis, the basic terms are rates – rates of productive activities and rates of payments.  The objective of the analysis is to discover the underlying intelligible and dynamic network of functional, mutually conditioning, and interdependent relationships of these rates to one another.  [CWL 15, 26-27  ftnt 27] Continue reading

Miscellaneous Notes Re The Notions Of Survival, Intelligence, Freedom, And the Good Of Order

Human adaptation is necessary for SURVIVAL of an economy:

(CWL 21, 42-43) our inquiry differs radically from traditional economics, in which the ultimate premises are not production and exchange but rather exchange and self-interest, or later, exchange and a vaguely defined psychological situation.  Our aim is to prescind from human psychology that, in the first place, we may define the objective situation with which man has to deal, and, in the second place, define the psychological attitude that has to be adopted if man is to deal successfully with economic problems.  Thus something of a Copernican revolution is attempted: instead of taking man as he is or as he may be thought to be and from that deducing what economic phenomena are going to be, we take the exchange process in its greatest generality and attempt to deduce the human adaptations necessary for SURVIVAL. (CWL 21,42- 43) Continue reading

John H. Cochrane’s Article in The Wall Street Journal, Thursday 8/25/2022

The Wall Street Journal of Thursday, 8/25/2022 featured John H. Cochrane’s commentary entitled  “Nobody Knows How Interest Rates Affect Inflation.”  We would say, “In order to understand how interest payments from Smith to Jones should circulate in order to achieve price stability, continuity, equilibrium and realization of the economy’s potential, one must have a unified theory explaining the whole, organic, dynamic, pretio-quantital,economic process.  Then, within that theory one can know How Interest Rates Might Affect Inflation.”  (Click here, and here)  We would also assert that manipulation by the Fed of the rental price of money – the interest cost – can be counterproductive. (Continue reading)


Elizabeth Warren’s Advice to Jerome Powell; Sentiment Without Intelligence

The Wall Street Journal of 7/25/2022 featured an article by Senator Elizabeth Warren:  “Jerome Powell’s Fed Pursues a Painful and Ineffective Inflation Cure.” Because she lacks an objectivenormative, abstract, explanatory theory and, thus, fails to understand the functional interdependencies constituting the organic economic process, particular arguments in her article are a) sometimes contaminated by psychopolitical wishful opinions, b) often ignorantly one-sided because she is unaware that some policies have double edges, c) sometimes contradictory of her other arguments, and d) in at least one case, supercilious.

E. Warren suffers from the same plight as Thomas Picketty. To satisfy her responsibility to the public, she needs to achieve a scientific understanding of the organic economic process; she needs to get a “grip.”

We are at the heart of Picketty’s plight: he has no clue of the needed grip on the grounds of the inequality in history.  So, what else can he offer but a centralist solution, taxation, to history’s drunken careening. (McShane, Philip, Picketty’s Plight, 53)

In equity (the basic expansion following the surplus expansion) should be directed to raising the standard of living of the whole society.  It does not.  And the reason why it does not is not the reason on which simple-minded moralists insist.  They blame greed.  But the prime cause is ignorance.  The dynamics of surplus and basic expansion, surplus and basic incomes are not understood, not formulated, not taught….. [CWL 15, 82]

(Continue reading)

Abstraction in Macroeconomics; Classical and Statistical Laws

Abstraction is enriching.  The relation of things to our senses must be transcended by abstraction; abstraction yields explanatory concepts implicitly defined by their functional relations to one another.

The commonsense accounting relations constituting historical Gross Domestic Product must be supplemented by the abstract explanatory formulation of Current Gross Domestic Functional Flows.  All participants must have the scientific guidance of a normative theory in order to properly adapt their personal conduct to the principles and laws of the objective process. (Continue reading)