Category Archives: Bernard Lonergan

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) money’s values from different points of view, and c) an ordered hierarchy of economic activity. 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. 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)   (Continue reading)

Alberto Bisin Re Modern Monetary Theory

On Saturday, 12/19/ 2020, John Cochrane‘s blog “Bisin on MMT Rhetoric” cited Alberto Bisin’s review of Stephanie Kelton’s Book “The Deficit Myth. “  Alberto Bisin contends, as do we, that So-Called Modern Monetary Theory, as espoused by Kelton and others,  does not qualify as a theory.  Cochrane quotes Bisin:

The book should be seen as a rhetorical exercise. Indeed, it is the core of MMT that appears as merely a rhetorical exercise. As such it is interesting, but not a theory in any meaningful sense I can make of the word. The T in MMT is more like a collection of interrelated statements floating in fluid arguments. Never is its logical structure expressed in a direct, clear way, from head to toe.

Continue reading

Modern Monetary Theory Is Backward; It Creates “Illegal” Superposed Circuits

Preliminary note: In this section we are addressing the proper understanding and management of the economic process in normal, non-pandemic times.  We affirm that the current pandemic calls for extraordinary measures.

xxxxxxx

Unwittingly, first out of ignorance and recently as necessitated by a pandemic, some nations, including the U.S., are wandering into the ultimate menace to the financial system, the spending without constraint blessed and recommended by unscientific Modern Monetary Theory. (Click here and here) The systematic result of MMT’s unconstrained printing of money, unjustified by corresponding production of goods and services, is rampant inflation in prices for a) goods and services and/or b) financial assets.  (Continue reading)

Functions Are Not Seen, But Must Be Understood

Functions are not seen, but must be understood. (Catherine Blanche King, private communication)

A systematic explanation, then, requires a normative theoretical framework.  The basic terms and relations of such a framework would specify the distinctions and correlations that articulate the causes, which are not necessarily visible, of events that are apparent to all.  (CWL 15,  Editors’ Introduction, lv) (Continue reading)

McShane’s Six Areas Of Intervention; Economists’ Massive Disorientation Regarding Basic Variables

 

McShane, Philip, “Implementing Lonergan’s Economics”; in Liddy, Richard M. ed. The Lonergan Review, Vol. III No. 1 – Spring 2011, Copyright 2011, The Bernard Lonergan Institute, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey

I, (Philip McShane) list here six areas of non-functional economic intervention: there are more pointers elsewhere, and more to come from our collaboration. ¶ First, then there is a matter of competence. What Lonergan envisaged is democracy of sufficient understanding of economic rhythms, … ¶ Secondly, there is the challenge of influencing school economics. … What is needed now, and feasible, is the supplementing of present texts – that have to be taught in fairness to students – with a few initial classes that, as well as raising the issue of the good life and good credit, raise bluntly the deep yet obvious mistake that I mention next.  ¶ Thirdly, there is the challenge of a multi-faceted intrusion into present economics that would draw attention to the massive mistake regarding basic variables. Ftnt. 20

Footnote. 20:  It seems best to note here a strategy not listed: that of comparison and contrast.  Present economic theory, application, criticism, is grounded in erroneous fundamental variables, and overlaid with stupidities about money, credit, market indicators, interest rates, government responsibilities.  These flaws certainly need exposure.  But the larger challenge is the redoing of the statistical work of the past century, as best we can, in the light of the new variables.

¶ Fourthly, there is the central issue … of the nature of credit, implicitly raising – at many levels – the question, What is money? … ¶ Fifthly, there is a massive foundational theoretical effort needed that is quite beyond present economists.  Without the doctrines emergent from such foundational efforts, the subtle idiocy of treating money not as a promise but as a commodity will continue its casino frenzy.  ¶ Sixthly and finally, I return to the issue of school education, … Under secondly, above , there was the immediate possibility of competent (firstly) Lonergan people persuading grade 12 economics or social studies teachers to build into the accepted course, say, my single class on proper economic variables. …

 

 

A Lonergan Sampler

This Sampler will be supplemented as time allows, but I want to publish now to a) demonstrate the breadth and depth of the knowledge that Lonergan brought to Macroeconomic Dynamics, and b) inspire readers to compare their perspective to his.  His thinking ranged over mathematics, natural science, method, history, philosophy, theology, and art.

CWL 3, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding

Now the principles and laws of a geometry are abstract and generally valid propositions. Continue reading

Theorems of “Continuity” in Macroeconomic Dynamics

Because he was so expert in math, science, and scientific method, Lonergan’s early thinking in Macroeconomics in CWL 21 was more abstract, more general, and more advanced even than the thinking found in the Macroeconomics textbooks of today.  His thinking continued to develop into the explanatory systematics of CWL 15.  Here, two brief excerpts from the earlier CWL 21. Continue reading

The Economist’s Need for Intellectual Conversion

Patrick H. Byrne has had some interesting things to say about the need of the economist for intellectual conversion.

Byrne, Patrick, Economic Transformations: The Role of Conversions and Culture in the Transformation of Economics; in Fallon, Timothy P., S.J. and Philip Boo Riley, Editors; Religion and Culture: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (1987) Albany, State University of New York Press [Fallon and Riley, 1987, 327-48]

Byrne stated, Continue reading