Difference In Theory Requires Different Explanatory Sequence

(Lonergan’s) economic theory differs in six distinctive ways:

  1. the starting point for economics is the productive process
  2. economics seeks to understand the functional relationships between co-operative meaningful activities that constitute an economy
  3. economics has a particular purpose and variables proper to economics can be distinguished from those proper to technology and politics
  4. human motivations do not explain economic processes
  5. the processes that constitute an economy are normative
  6. democracy is a pre-condition for a properly functioning economy.

[McNellis, Sean, “A Prelude to (Lonergan’s) Economics”; in Liddy, Richard M. ed. The Lonergan Review, Vol. II No. 1 – Spring 2010, Copyright 2009, The Bernard Lonergan Institute, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey]

Learned readers will be frequently bothered by the question, Why is the author off on this odd track?  Indeed the more learned they are, the more they will be troubled.  But the only explanation I can offer at the start is a general one.  A satisfactory explanation of anything involves many steps.  The most expeditious procedure is to postpone the steps that presuppose other steps, and to begin with those that have minimal presuppositions.  Only at the end of the labour can one grasp the explanation itself and then, looking back, see why each step was taken along the way.  [CWL 15, 19]

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