An Outline Of General Values And Money’s Values

In the first section .I., we’ll list a) a ranking or scale of preferences of meanings and values within the ecology in which humans live, b) an ordered hierarchy re economic activity, and c) money’s values from different points of view. In the second section .II., we’ll add detail to that scale of preferences and situate money’s values and the ordered hierarchy within the scale.  Finally .III., we’ll display excerpts to point readers to original sources.   One might find this outline useful when reading  A Must-Read: Fred Lawrence, “Money, Institutions, And The Human Good”: An Ordered Perspective Distinguishing Social and Monetary Values.  The reader will remember that Lawrence points out that Lonergan properly clarifies the concept of exchange value in a free exchange process so as to destroy with a single stroke the mistaken concepts of Adam Smith, John Locke, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx.

Not only do feelings respond to value. They do so in accord with some scale of preference.  So we may distinguish vital, social, cultural, personal, and religious values in an ascending order. (CWL 14, 31-2/32-3)

.I. We first give a simple overview, previewing a more detailed view, of two sets of “values” and an ordered hierarchy of economic activity.  The first list is a scale of preferences in ascending order; the second is a simple list of the meanings of value from three points of view; the third is an ordered hierarchy of activities.

General Values:           Money’s Aspectual Values     Ordered Hierarchy of Economic Activity

.1. Vital values                Relative value                              .1. Technology

.2. Social values              Economic value                           .2. Economy

.3. Cultural values           Exchange value                           .3. Political order

.4. Personal values

.5. Religious values

.II. We now expand the ascending order of values in the  ethos of human existence; and we situate money’s values and the ordered hierarchy of economic activity in the good of order within the social and cultural levels of the general values of the lived culture:

  • .1. Vital values – such as health and strength, grace and vigor, normally are preferred to avoiding the work, privations, pains involved in acquiring, maintaining, restoring them.
    • Survival, Security, Happiness
  • .2. Social values – such as the good of order which conditions the vital values of the whole community, have to be preferred to the vital values of individual members of the community
  • .3. Cultural values – finding meaning, value, and dignity in one’s living and operating in a free society. It is the function of culture to discover, express, validate, criticize, correct , develop, improve such meaning and value in the present and the future.
    • Schools, universities, political institutions, courts, guild halls, monasteries, cathedrals
    • Culture effects the good order among a hierarchy of three concrete present schemes of recurrence and present culture conditions a future hierarchy of the same three schemes of recurrence.
      • .3. Polity in a free-enterprise economy; political and juridical schemes of recurrence constituting an ethos for economy and technology
      • .2. Economy: Economic schemes of recurrence following classical laws
        • Production rhythms and monetary circulations using technology
        • Ideal pure cycle, vs. disequilibrated booms and slumps
          • Money’s “values” in economic schemes of recurrence (CWL 21, 35-39)
            • Relative value – usefulness
            • Economic value- in effort against scarcity
            • Exchange value (normative stability – avoid inflation and deflation)
      • .1. Technology: concrete possibilities for transformations; the creative minority’s schemes for invention of new and better producer goods, methods, and skills
    • .4. Personal values – the person in his self-transcendence, as loving and being loved, as originator of values in himself and in his milieu, as an inspiration and invitation to others to do likewise
    • .5. Religious values – at the heart of meaning and value; orientation to the mystery of love and awe
      • The philosopher’s perfect unity of knower and known
        • Unity, Truth, and Goodness (CWL 3)
      • The theologian’s Triunity (CWLs 11 and 12)
      • Love and light (CWL 12, 139)

 .III. We now display excerpts relevant to the contents of the perspective above.

The scale of preference: Not only do feelings respond to value. They do so in accord with some scale of preference.  So we may distinguish vital, social, cultural, personal, and religious values in an ascending order. Vital values such as health and strength, grace and vigor, normally are preferred to avoiding the work, privations, pains involved in acquiring, maintaining, restoring them.  Social values, such as the good of order which conditions the vital values of the whole community, have to be preferred to the vital values of individual members of the community.  Cultural values do not exist without the underpinning of vital and social values, but none the less, they rank higher.  Not on bread alone doth man live.  Over and above mere living and operating, men have to find a meaning and value in their living and operating.  It is the function of culture to discover, express, validate, criticize, correct , develop, improve such meaning and value.  Personal value is the person in his self-transcendence, as loving and being loved, as originator of values in himself and in his milieu, as an inspiration and invitation to others to do likewise.  Religious values, finally, are at the heart of the meaning and value of man’s living and man’s world. … (CWL 14, 32-3)

The cultural phase of economic expansion: The cultural phase consists in DA” turning its accelerating surplus to increasing overhead DA’.  It is the medieval emergence of monasteries, churches, cathedrals, schools, universities, guild halls.  It is the Renaissance patronage of the arts.  It finds its modern exemplar, from the strictly economic viewpoint, in the armament race and the economics of conducting a war.  It is an age of new enterprise and of thrift without the anticipation of profits. (CWL 21, 24-25)

For both Lonergan and Pesch the properly economic goal is the appropriate standard of living, the betterment of the material conditions of human existence.  For both, economic activity provides the material substratum for the cultural creations of human ingenuity and aspiration…For the Lonergan of Insight (first published 1957) economic ends fit concretely into an ordered hierarchy: technology, which is the society’s concrete possibility for transforming the potentialities of nature into the standard of living, is subordinate to economy, which is the process for producing and distributing the best possible standard of living; and economy is subordinated to a political order embodying a democratic, free-enterprise economy.  If the concretely functioning economy disposes of material and technological resources to mediate the material conditions of human living, the task of politics is to constitute an ethos for disposing of the economy, ‘an ethos that at once subtly and flexibly provides concrete premises and norms for practical decisions.’ [CWL 15, xxxi-xxxii]

By a cultural expansion is meant a rate of increase in the production of overhead primary products, of the things by which civilization is defended, developed, maintained.  [McShane, 2016, 137]

Monetary means “having to do with money.”  Monetary Theory constitutes the principles, laws, and thus explanation of how money should be created and how money should circulate.

Money is an instrument invented to fulfill a definite task; it is not the ultimate master of the situation. One has to place first human society which is served by the economic process, and second the economic process which is to be served by money.   Accordingly money has to conform to the objective exigencies of the economic process, and not vice versa. (CWL 21, 101; order of sentences has been reversed)

The value of the dummy: the real issue is the value of the dummy (money in divided exchange rather than barter)… The (1) relative value(of money) is its usefulness….the scarcity of the (useful) dummy is attended to by the technicians (The Central Bank and the banking system) of the technical rules governing its issuance.  Whether it issues from the printing press or from the credit structure makes no difference.  The (2) economic value (of money as a means of exchange) lies in the human effort against scarcity… the (3) exchange value is the ratio or proportion in which are exchanged the different categories of objects for which men strive because they are useful and scarce… It is now necessary to state the necessary and sufficient condition of constancy or variation in the exchange value of the dummy.  To this end we compare two flows of the circulation: the real flow of property, goods, and services, and the dummy flow being given and taken in exchange for the real flow….Accordingly, the necessary and sufficient condition of constant value in the dummy lies in its concomitant variation with the real flow….More briefly, if there is concomitance between the two flows, then the proportion in which dummies and goods exchange remains the same.  (there is proper constancy of pricing)  If there is lack of concomitance, then this proportion changes.  (there is a deviation from the constancy of pricing)  But exchange value is a proportion.  Therefore, the concomitance of the two flows is the condition of constant exchange value. CWL 21, 38-39

the dummy must be constant in exchange value, so that equal quantities continue to exchange, in the general case, for equal quantities of goods and services.  The alternative to constant value in the dummy is the alternative of inflation and deflation.  Of these famous twins, inflation swindles those with cash to enrich those with property or debts, while deflation swindles those with property or debts to enrich those with cash; in addition to the swindle each of these twins has his own way of torturing the dynamic flows; deflation gives producers a steady stream of losses; inflation yields a steady stream of gains to give production a drug-like stimulus. [CWL 21, 37-38]

Re producer goods: DA’, then, attends to final products, to goods and services that are wanted not for the sake of economic process but for ulterior purposes.  These are of two kinds: ordinary and overhead.  Ordinary final products pertain to the cultural superstructure of society: they are the flow of books, schools, hospitals, courts, prisons, armaments, public buildings, noncommercial roads and bridges, churches, and the like.  Roughly, the two correspond to present ideas on ‘public’ and ‘private’ undertakings.  However, it is well to avoid such terminology as it begs the question on an important issue in political economy. [CWL 21, 17]

Similarly, deepening may accompany widening.  In that case its effect is merely a shift in the distribution of labor.  Men are employed less in existing undertakings, but new and bigger ones emerge to employ them.  But there may be a deepening without widening.  In that case men are liberated from the field of economic activity: they may ascend to the field of cultural activities; or, in a poorly regulated society, they may descend to unemployment and the dole. [CWL 21, 18]

In the limit the whole effort of the surplus stage is devoted to replacement and maintenance of capital equipment, and then the only possibility of further acceleration is to depart from the assumption of a given level of cultural, political, and technical development.  For with better men, a better organization of men, and better practical ideas, it becomes possible through short-term accelerations to introduce more efficient equipment, displace labor, devote the displaced labor to a greater quantity of equipment, and so recommence the wave or cycle of long-term advance. CWL 15, 34-35

Deepening, the increase in efficiency, reduces maintenance, repairs, and replacement; it lowers the effective zero and so makes still further acceleration possible.  This possibility may be used for further widening.  If so, there follow decreasing returns.  However, if the widening terminates not in an ordinary but in an overhead expansion, that is, not in the improvement of material living conditions but in the improvement of the material fabric of culture, there should follow cultural development that prepares the way for another transformation of dynamic structure. … On the other hand, if the deepening is not used for further widening, then it must augment leisure.  Such leisure may indeed be wasted, just as anything else can be wasted.  But if it is properly employed, then it yields the cultural development that effects a new transformation. CWL 21, 22

Also: From the viewpoint of intelligence, the satisfactions allotted to individuals are to be measured by the ingenuity and diligence of each in contributing to the satisfactions of all; from the same high viewpoint the desires of each are to be regarded quite coolly as the motive power that keeps the social system functioning. CWL 3, 214/

Also,  The excellence of the exchange solution becomes even more evident when contrasted with the defects of a bureaucratic solution.  The bureaucrat … (gives the people) what he thinks is good for them, and he gives it in the measure he finds possible or convenient; nor can he do other wise, for the brains of a bureaucrat are not equal to the task of thinking of everything; only the brains of all men together can even approximate to that. … when a limited liability company has served its day, it goes to bankruptcy court; but when bureaucrats take over power, they intend to stay. … when the pressure of terrorism is needed to oil the wheels of enterprise, then the immediate effect is either an explosion or else servile degeneracy. … the exchange solution is a dynamic equilibrium resting on the equilibria of markets. … every product of the exchange economy must mate through exchange with some other product, and the ratio in which the two mate is the exchange value.  The generality of this equilibrium makes it indifferent to endless complexity and endless change; for it stands on a level above all particular products and all particular modes of production.  While these multiply and vary indefinitely, the general equilibrium of the exchange process continues to answer with precision the complex question, Who, among millions of persons, does what, among millions of tasks, in return for which, among millions of rewards?  Nor is the dynamic solution unaccompanied by a continuous stimulus to better efforts and more delicate ingenuity.  For the uniformity of prices means that the least efficient of those actually producing will at least subsist, while every step above the minimum efficiency yields a proportionately greater return. CWL 21, 34-35

Also, Thus it is that in the history of human societies there are halcyon periods of easy peace and tranquility  that alternate with times of crisis and trouble.  In the periods of relaxed tension, the good of order has come to terms with the intersubjective groups.  It commands their esteem by its palpable benefits; it has explained its intricate demands in some approximate yet sufficient fashion; it has adapted to its own requirements the play of imagination, the resonance of sentiment, the strength of habit, the ease of familiarity, the impetus of enthusiasm, the power of agreement and consent.  Then a man’s interest is in happy coincidence with his work; his country is also his homeland; its ways are the obviously right ways; its glory and peril are his own. CWL 3, 216/

But Also, As healing can have no truck with hatred, so too it can have no truck with materialism.  For the healer is essentially a reformer; first and foremost he counts on what is best in man.  But the materialist is condemned by his own principles to be no more that a manipulator.  He will apply to human beings the stick-and-carrot treatment that the Harvard behaviorist B.F. Skinner advocates under the name reinforcement.  He will maintain with Marx that cultural attitudes are the byproduct  of material conditions, and so he will bestow upon those subjected to communist power the salutary conditions of a closed frontier, clear and firm indoctrination, controlled media of information, a vigilant secret police, and the terrifying threat of labor camps. [CWL 15, 104]

The helplessness of tolerance to provide coherent solutions to social problems called forth the totalitarian who takes the narrow and complacent practicality of common sense and elevates it to the role of a complete and exclusive viewpoint.  On the totalitarian view, every type of intellectual dependence whether personal, cultural, scientific, philosophic, or religious, has no better basis than non-conscious myth.  The time has come for the non-conscious myth that will secure man’s total subordination to the requirements  of reality. Reality is the economic development, the military equipment, and the political dominance of the all-inclusive State.  Its ends justify all means.  Its means include not merely every technique of indoctrination and propaganda, .. but also the terrorism of a political police, of prisons and torture, of concentration camps, of transported and extirpated minorities, and of total war. [CWL 3, 231-32/256-57]

Index of CWL 14, 1988