Category Archives: Criticism

Elizabeth Warren’s Advice to Jerome Powell; Sentiment Without Intelligence

The Wall Street Journal of 7/25/2022 featured an article by Senator Elizabeth Warren:  “Jerome Powell’s Fed Pursues a Painful and Ineffective Inflation Cure.” Because she lacks an objectivenormative, abstract, explanatory theory and, thus, fails to understand the functional interdependencies constituting the organic economic process, particular arguments in her article are a) sometimes contaminated by psychopolitical wishful opinions, b) often ignorantly one-sided because she is unaware that some policies have double edges, c) sometimes contradictory of her other arguments, and d) in at least one case, supercilious.

E. Warren suffers from the same plight as Thomas Picketty. To satisfy her responsibility to the public, she needs to achieve a scientific understanding of the organic economic process; she needs to get a “grip.”

We are at the heart of Picketty’s plight: he has no clue of the needed grip on the grounds of the inequality in history.  So, what else can he offer but a centralist solution, taxation, to history’s drunken careening. (McShane, Philip, Picketty’s Plight, 53)

In equity (the basic expansion following the surplus expansion) should be directed to raising the standard of living of the whole society.  It does not.  And the reason why it does not is not the reason on which simple-minded moralists insist.  They blame greed.  But the prime cause is ignorance.  The dynamics of surplus and basic expansion, surplus and basic incomes are not understood, not formulated, not taught….. [CWL 15, 82]

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More re Picketty’s Plight and Centralist Modern Monetary Theory

In his blog entitled “Picketty in Brief,” dated Sunday, July 24, 2022, N. Gregory Mankiw asks what might be Thomas Picketty’s present thinking about inequality. Has it changed?  If so, how and why?  Also see on this website “Picketty’s Plight.”  in which we quote Philip McShane’s claim that, unless one has a normative explanatory theory yielding precepts as to how enlightened participants in the economic process should adapt and conduct themselves, one can only helplessly and hopelessly suggest harmful bureaucratic centralist solutions – such as disequilibrating taxation and intrinsicallyinflationary deficit spending. Continue reading

Alan S. Blinder re Transitory But Not Permanent

… the prime cause (whether it be of inequity or inflation) is ignorance.  The dynamics … are not understood, not formulated, not taught….. [CWL 15, 82]

man as external agent has not the systematic guidance he needs to operate successfully the machine he controls. [CWL 21, 109]

Academia’s failure threatens economic liberty.

Lonergan realized that failure to understand correctly what is needed if the economic process is to perform well is gravely threatening to democratic liberty.  That is why he undertook his serious study of economics. [CWL 15 Editors’ Introduction, xxx] 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 recent pandemic called for extraordinary measures.

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

New Foundations in 30 Minutes

New foundations for a new science of macroeconomics are grounded in

  • a scientific, dynamic heuristic
  • the technique of implicit definition
  • precise, purely relational, analytic distinctions between abstract fundamental terms and relations from which a superstructure of complete explanation may be deduced
  • the relativistic, field-theoretic functional interrelations among interdependent, mutually-defining, explanatory functional flows

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The Animal Organism and the Economic Organism

CONTENTS:

  1. THE STUDY OF ORGANISMS – ANIMAL AND ECONOMIC
  2. DETERMINISM AND INDETERMINISM – DISAGREEING WITH EINSTEIN
  3. CORRESPONDENCE IN THE CURRENT BASIC DYNAMIC, ORGANIC PROCESS; A DETERMINATE ALGEBRAIC FUNCTION OF THE FIRST DEGREE
  4. CORRESPONDENCE IN THE SURPLUS DYNAMIC, ORGANIC PROCESS; AN INDETERMINATE POINT-TO-LINE CORRESPONDENCE
  5. AVOIDING A VICIOUS CIRCLE OF CRITICISM
  6. THREE IMPLICITLY-DEFINED CIRCULATORY ORGANS
  7. THE TRANSITION TO SYSTEMATIZATION
  8. THE ROLE OF MIND IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUMAN AND THE ECONOMIC ORGANISMS

 .1. THE STUDY OF ORGANISMS – ANIMAL AND ECONOMIC:  (Continue reading)

 

Stagflation Demystified

The general form of so-called stagflation is more money chasing fewer goods in the basic circuit and a dearth of investment in the surplus circuit to keep pace with the strong basic demand. (Click here)

Lonergan gave one theoretical example of stagflation – without calling it that – wherein the principle of concomitance and the condition of equilibrium between the operative circuits of the process is violated: Continue reading

Jamie Dimon’s Challenges to Himself and to the Nation

4/7/2021:  Yahoo Finance today featured an article by Julia La Roche entitled ‘The fault line is inequality’: J.P. Morgan’s Dimon calls for fixing America’s ‘self-inflicted’ problems.  La Roche was reviewing the Public Policy section of Dimon’s 67-page Chairman and CEO Letter to Shareholders.  Mr. Dimon seeks to end the nation’s self-infliction of problems threatening the culture, the economy and the polity.  He particularly regrets “false arguments of fanatics, the certitude of ideologues and cycles of intolerance.” Continue reading

Seminar on “Critical Thinking in Economics”

Presenters John Siegfried and David Colander, and discussants Daron Acemoglu, Melissa S. Kearney, John A List, N. Gregory Mankiw,  Deirdre McCloskey, and Betsey Stevenson recently collaborated in a virtual ASSA meeting entitled “What Does Critical Thinking Mean in Economics, the Big and Little of It?” Handouts from the meeting can be found in an Announcement in a blog of Saturday, January 2, 2021 on N. Gregory Mankiw’s website.

Preliminarily, note the subtitle in Lonergan’s seminal work, Insight: A Study of Human UnderstandingIn the present context we might reword the subtitle A Study of Critical ThinkingA very smart person – learned in  advanced mathematics and theoretical physics – called Lonergan’s book “The Most Significant Book of the Twentieth Century.”       (Continue reading)

Explaining “Present Fact”: An Ever-Varying Process; A Never-Varying Systematics

The economic process is always the current, purely-dynamic, concrete functioning. The analysis of the dynamic process is always relevant to the present fact. The immanent intelligibility of such a dynamic, ever-varying process may itself be an invariant; i.e. though the differentials may change in magnitude, the relation of the differential velocities and accelerations among themselves is invariant.  So it is in the case of dynamic pendular motion, elliptic motion, the variables of electromagnetic phenomena, and in the dynamic economic process.  The general laws of the process are applicable in any instance.  These primary, abstract, general, field-theoretic laws may be applied to whatever may be the secondary determinations from the concrete non-systematic manifold.  Thus we can get the particular law explaining the particular concrete process under investigation.

The overall economic functioning has an objective immanent intelligibility.  This intelligibility is an invariant – a set of differential equations which implicitly define the explanatory, conjugate, differentials of the dynamic process. The explanatory terms are abstract functions defined by their functional relations to one another. In the implicit equations, the terms define the relations and the relations define the terms, and insight fixes both. And the equations cohere with one another to constitute a fully-explanatory field theory.

The point-to-line and higher correspondences are based upon the indeterminacy of the relation between certain (surplus) products and the (later ultimate basic) products that (exit the process and eventually) enter into the standard of living. … the indeterminacy is very much a present fact.  One has to await the future to have exact information.   And while estimates in the present may be esteemed accurate, the future has no intention of being ruled by them: owners do not junk equipment simply because it has outlasted the most reliable estimates; nor are bankrupts kept in business because their expectations, though mistaken, are proved to have been perfectly reasonable.  The analysis that insists on the indeterminacy is the analysis that insists on the present fact: estimates and expectations are proofs of the present indeterminacy and attempts to get round it; and, to come to the main point, an analysis based on such estimates and expectations can never arrive at a criticism of them; it would move in a vicious circle.  It is to avoid that circle that we have divided the process in terms of indeterminate point-to-line and point-to-surface and higher correspondences. [CWL 15, 27-28]

in the long run, and especially in the very long run, such a correlation exists.  It is that surplus production is the accelerator of basic production.  In other words the correspondence between the two is not a point-to-point but a point-to-line correspondence; … Now such a correspondence, if it is to be expressed not in terms of expectations of the future but in terms of present fact, is a correspondence of accelerator to accelerated. … If the system is to move into a long-term expansion, this movement has to begin with a surplus quantity acceleration: surplus production has not merely to maintain or renew existing capital equipment but has to reach a level at which it turns out new units of production and maintains or renews a greater number of existing units; this gives the quantity surplus expansion. [CWL 21, 132]

(there is to be discerned a threefold process in which a basic stage is maintained and accelerated by a series of surplus stages, while the needed additions to or subtractions from the stock of money in these processes is derived from the redistributive area) … The maintaining of a standard of living is attributed to a basic process (distinct process 1), an ongoing sequence of instances of so much every so often.  The maintenance and acceleration (distinct process 2) of this basic process is brought about by a sequence of surplus stages, in which each lower stage is maintained and accelerated by the next higher.  Finally, transactions that do no more than transfer titles to ownership are concentrated in a redistributive function, whence may be derived changes in the stock of money (distinct process 3) dictated by the acceleration (positive or negative) in the basic and surplus stages of the process. … So there is to be discerned a threefold process in which a basic stage is maintained and accelerated by a series of surplus stages, while the needed additions to or subtractions from the stock of money in these processes is derived from the redistributive area. … it will be possible to distinguish stable and unstable combinations and sequences of rates in the three main areas and so gain some insight into the long-standing recurrence of crises in the modern expanding economy. [CWL 15, 53-54]