Three Points of Criticism [Brief Item #83]

[5/20/20] I will begin by noting three points of criticism of the present tradition.  In the first place, the tradition includes no serious effort at analysis of the productive process.  Secondly, even when it takes on the trappings of a theory of growth, it remains economic macrostatics.  Thirdly, inbuilt into it and into its political application, there is a fundamental ideology of alienation. [McShane 1980, Lonergan’s Challenge to the University and the Economy, 103-104]

In support of the first criticism:

As opposed to the impoverished abstraction (of capital equipment as) “ ” (steel), there is an enriching abstraction which holds together, within a general heuristics of process, the aggregate of rates at which goods and services move, directly or indirectly, into a standard of living, without excluding wheat or cotton, bread and dresses, ships and machine tools, management and innovation. [McShane 1980, 104]

In support of the second criticism:

Wedded to the difficulty of conceiving capital … is the difficulty of conceiving change.  Nor can this be surprising if the accusation of macrostatic thinking is valid. … An early villain was Leon Walras. … As Schumpeter notes, “the exact skeleton of Keynes’ system belongs, to use terms proposed by Ragnar Frisch, to macrostatics, not macrodynamics.” [McShane 1980,  105]

In support of the third criticism:

Hansen’s characterization of the shift of interest in the twentieth century takes on a different hue from the perspective of Praxisweltanschauung and of the third stage of meaning.  Then one sees it as an abandonment of the search both for a dynamic theory and for democracy. [McShane 1980, 106] [#83] (Click here for previous “Single Paragraphs” or “Brief Items”)

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