Category Archives: Bureau of Economic Analysis

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)

The Principle of Concomitance: The Foundation of Equilibrium and Continuity

Concomitance is, I would claim, the key word in Lonergan’s economic thinking. [Philip McShane, [Fusion 1, page 4 ftnt 10]

Recall that the subtitle of CWL 15 is “An Essay in Circulation Analysis”.  It is by virtue of concomitance that continuity and equilibrium are achieved so as to constitute an orderly process of circulations.  (Continue reading)

Five Why’s

Why Macroeconomists Don’t Flock to Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics

Why Study Peter Burley’s Models?

Why and How the Basic Expansion Fails To Be Implemented

Why Analyze The Productive Process First?

Why Revise The National Income and Product Accounts?

 

Insight Into The “Baseball Diamond”: Discovery For Implementation

Thus, if we want to have a comprehensive grasp of everything in a unified whole, we shall have to construct a diagram in which are symbolically represented all the various elements along with all the connections between them. [McShane 2014, 11 (quoting CWL 7, 151)]

We wish here to suggest the insights the reader should have to fully appreciate all that is contained in the Diagram of Rates of Flow. (Continue reading).

A Normative Dynamic Structure, Despite Maladaptive Errors by “Infielders”

Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics has a definite, normative, dynamic structure. Evidently, there is a high degree of indeterminacy to events within such a dynamic structure.  All one can say is the game can go all awry. But despite this almost baffling indeterminacy, it remains that there is a definite dynamic structure. [CWL 21, 211-12]

The velocities of correlated, interdependent payments must keep pace and be in balance. Payments of dummy money move at velocities in circuits; e.g. O = I = E = R (CWL 15, 54) and O’ + O” = I’ + I” = E’ + E” = R’ + R” (CWL 15, 54)  The arrows in the Diagram of Rates of Flow  represent channels containing analytically-distinguished, interdependent, functional velocities.  These dynamic functionings are defined by the functional relations in which they stand with one another.

The intelligibility of the concrete process consists of two components: an abstract primary relativity expressing the normative systematic structure, and a secondary  component of concrete determinations from the non-systematic manifold.  There is a normativity to the dynamic structure.  An analogy from baseball may help to make the point regarding interdependence and keeping pace.

 

A large and positive crossover difference uncompensated by action from the pitcher’s box will result sooner or later in depriving the groups at second and third bases of all their balls, or if the crossover difference is large and negative, it will result in depriving the groups at home and first of all their balls.  Continue reading

Lilley and Rogoff Recommending Negative Interest Rates

We are commenting with respect to Andrew Lilley and Kenneth Rogoff’s “conference draft” discussing the advisability of a FRB policy of negative interest rates:

 Lilley, Andrew and Kenneth Rogoff, April 24, 2019: “The Case for Implementing Effective Negative Interest Rate Policy” (Conference draft for presentation at Strategies For Monetary Policy: A Policy Conference, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, May 4, 2019, 9:15 am PST) [Lilley and Rogoff, 2019]     (Continue reading)

A Comparative Note on Einstein’s Special-Relativity Field Theory and Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Field Theory

Special Relativity and Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics are field theories.  (Click here and here and here)  We wish to gain further appreciation of FMD as a field theory by juxtaposing it with Special Relativity.

… Special Relativity is primarily a field theory, that is, it is concerned not with efficient, instrumentalmaterial, or final causes of events, but with the intelligibility immanent in data; but Newtonian dynamics seems primarily a theory of efficient causes, of forces, their action, and the reaction evoked by action. … Special Relativity is stated as a methodological doctrine that regards the mathematical expression of physical principles and laws, but Newtonian dynamics is stated as a doctrine about the objects subject to laws.  [3, 43/67] (Continue reading)

Field Theory in Physics and Macroeconomics

We hope to inspire serious graduate students of economics a) to seek and achieve an understanding of “Macroeconomic Field Theory,” b) to verify empirically Lonergan’s field relations,  and c) to use the explanatory field relations as the basis of influential scholarly papers.

We trace developments

  • in physics from Newtonian mechanics to modern field theory, and
  • in economics from Walrasian supply-demand economics to purely relational, Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory.

Key ideas include a) abstraction and implicit definition as the basis and ground of invariance in both physics and macroeconomics, b) the concept of a purely relational field, c) immanent intelligibility and formal causality, and d) the canons of parsimony and of complete explanation. We highlight some key ideas: (continue reading)

Why and How the Basic Expansion Fails to be Implemented

In the ideal pure cycle, the long-term expansion proceeds from a static phase through a proportionate-expansion phase , then through a surplus-expansion phase, then through a basic-expansion phase, and finally into a higher static phase.

At (the beginning of a basic expansion) an economic system is confronted with an intrinsic test. It success will be established if it can complete the major basic expansion and – without mishap, without inflation, without unemployment, without a break in confidence –  make its way serenely into the haven of the stationary state.  I mean of course, not the stationary state of mere backwardness, not the stationary state of stagnation when a disastrous crash follows on an earlier apparent triumph, but the stationary state that preserves all the gains of the preceding major expansions.  It is (then) content to produce their gains at a constant rate.  Its duration may be short or long, for in each case it must wait until such time as further new developments are grasped by human intelligence and eventually become practically conceived possibilities. [CWL 15, 80] (Continue reading)