To indicate the editors’ helpfulness in placing Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics in its historical and theoretical contexts, we list below the headings of the Editors‘ Introduction to Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis (CWL 15). We encourage all in the community of economists – graduate students, professors, investment analysts, corporate and government economists – to read the Introduction.
Editors’ Introduction, Frederick G. Lawrence ; xxv
- Lonergan’s Entry into Economics, 1930-1944 / xxvi
- Democratic Economics: An alternative to Liberalism and Socialism / xxxii
- Liberalism and Socialism as Economistic Ideologies / xxxv
- Free Enterprise as an Educational Project
- Lonergan’s Reentry into Economics, 1978-1983 / xxxix
- Lonergan’s Interlocutors in Economics / xliii
- Lonergan and Marx / xlvi
- Lonergan and Marshall / xlvii
- Lonergan and Keynes / xlviii
- Lonergan, Kalecki, and Others / li
- Lonergan and Schumpeter / li
- Macroeconomic Dynamic Analysis as a New Paradigm of Economic Theory / liv
- The Systematic Significance of the Fundamental distinction between Basic and Surplus Production and Exchange
- Profit / lxiii
- Interest / lxvii
- Lonergan’s Critique of ‘Supply-Side’ and ‘Demand-Side’ Economics / lxvii
- Lonergan’s Critique of Secularist Ideologies: The Need for a Theological Viewpoint / lxix
Lonergan was a polymath. He was expert at systematizing fields in which others could not discover order. As the Editors’ Introduction states, his work in macroeconomics is of systematic significance.
In brief Lonergan is looking for an explanation in which the terms are defined by the relations in which they stand, that is, by a process of implicit definition. … No doubt Keynes was an economist first and a methodologist second … Lonergan, for his part, is perhaps a methodologist first and an economist second, but he was able to push his economic reflections further than Keynes because he had a firmer grasp of the essentials of an effective theory. … Lonergan’s critique (shows that) … the emphasis shifts … to searching heuristically for the maximum extent of (functional) interconnections and interdependence; and that the variables (of the mechanism) discovered in this way might not resemble very much the objects (or the aggregates) (such as coincidental prices) which, in the first instance, (the non-methodologist) was thinking about. [Gibbons 1987]
… A science emerges when thinking in a given field moves to the level of system. Prior to Euclid there were many geometrical theorems that had been established. The most notable example is Pythagoras’ theorem on the hypotenuse of the right-angled triangle, which occurs at the end of Book 1 of Euclid’s elements. Euclid’s achievement was to bring together all these scattered theorems by setting up a unitary basis that would handle all of them and a great number of others as well. … similarly, mechanics became a system with Newton. Prior to Newton, Galileo’s law of the free fall and Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion were known. But these were isolated laws. Galileo’s prescription was that the system was to be a geometry; so there was something functioning as a system. But the system really emerged with Newton. This is what gave Newton his tremendous influence upon the enlightenment. He laid down a set of basic, definitions, and axioms, and proceeded to demonstrate and conclude from general principles and laws that had been established empirically by his predecessors. Mechanics became a science in the full sense at that point where it became an organized system. … again, a great deal of chemistry was known prior to Mendeleev. But his discovery of the periodic table selected a set of basic chemical elements and selected them in such a way that further additions could be made to the basic elements. Since that time chemistry has been one single organized subject with a basic set of elements accounting for incredibly vast numbers of compounds. In other words, there is a point in the history of any science when it comes of age, when it has a determinate systematic structure to which corresponds a determinate field. [CWL10, 241-42]
Readers may find it helpful to peruse the image below, What Lonergan Brought to Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics.