A Must-Read: Fred Lawrence, “Money, Institutions, And The Human Good”: An Ordered Perspective Distinguishing Social and Monetary Values

For an ordered perspective on the role of culture in the ecology consisting of the schemes of recurrence of a) technology, b) production and exchange, and c) politics, one should read Fred Lawrence’s article, “Money, Institutions, and the Human Good.”

Lawrence, Fred, “Money, Institutions, and the Human Good”, pp. 175-97; 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 [Liddy, 2010]

Fred Lawrence is a co-editor of Lonergan’s CWL 15: Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis.  Fred situates the economic process within the schemes of recurrence wherein humans a) seek meaning and value, and b) have liberty to achieve the economic good of order.  He distinguishes the concept of exchange value in a free exchange process from the mistaken concepts of Adam Smith, John Locke, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx.  And he explains the proper role of money — an instrument of public accounting for exchange values-among-themselves —  in a free, dynamic, economic process.

Important notions in Lawrence’s article include:

  • freedom in a free-enterprise system and freedom’s orientation
  • schemes of recurrence such as technology, production and exchange, and politics
  • “culture” as both consisting in existing schemes or recurrence and conditioning higher schemes
  • the progression of an economic expansion through a surplus phase, basic phase, and cultural phase
  • absolute value, relative value, economic value, and exchange value
  • a normative scale of  values in living: vital, social, cultural, personal, and religious
  • money as invented by humans to serve the economic process
  • money viewed as a commodity vs. money as an instrument regulated by the intrinsic intelligibility of the economic good of order
  • the credit theory of money as a promise, and a promise based on trust
  • the role of politics
  • the normative order of civil community
  • the anthropology of human fulfillment and success
  • the cultural repercussions of misunderstanding

Leave a Reply