Category Archives: Cycles

Explanatory Macroeconomic Dynamics; Relevant In Any Instance

There are five figures below from CWL 15:  The single figure on the left represents the interrelations of interdependent Monetary Flows; and the figure contains the important condition of dynamic equilibrium: G = c”O” -i’O’ = 0.  The four figures stacked on the right demonstrate aspects of the productive phases constituting a Pure Cycle of Expansion. The bidirectional arrows uniting the two sides signify that the dynamic equilibrium among interdependent flows specified on the left is to be achieved consistently throughout the long-run expansion represented on the right.  This condition of dynamic equilibrium is that the crossover flows between the two interacting circuits must continuously balance even as they continuously vary in magnitude in the succession of phases constituting the expansionary process.  Just as the general laws of simple parabolic or pendular motion are explanatory and applicable to any particular instance of initial angle and velocity, so a) the primary relativities of productive and monetary flows, and b) the primary differentials of long-term expansion explain the economic process, and are normatively relevant in every particular instance.  All five diagrams are unitary.  Each and every velocitous and accelerative flow of products and money has proximate or remote explanatory aspects embedded in all five diagrams. (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)

The Relativistic Invariant: The Ideal Pure Cycle at the Root of the Aberrant Trade Cycle

The heart of the normative theoretical framework that can actually explain business and trade cycles is what (Lonergan) calls the ‘Pure Cycle’ (§10, §24, 114).  This cycle generalizes into clearly articulated relationships the ideal phases characteristic of major economic transformations as they depart from a stationary phase and move through phases first of surplus expansion and then of basic expansion, only to return to a new stationary phase. … (CWL 15, Editors’ Introduction, lxiii)  (Continue reading)

Notes Re Reading Graphs In CWL 15, pp. 121-25

In the graphs of CWL 15, pages 121-25, it is easy to become disoriented by the symbols on the vertical axes and by the titles and annotations.  In particular, one might tend mistakenly to view Q as a symbol for an absolute quantity or an accumulation rather than for a rate of flow of a quantity.  Recall:

In Lonergan’s circulation analysis, the basic terms are ratesrates of productive activities and rates of payments.  The objective of the analysis is to discover the underlying intelligible and dynamic (accelerative) network of functional, mutually conditioning, and interdependent relationships of these rates to one another.  [CWL 15  26-27  ftnt 27]

Lonergan never used terms for magnitudes, only for rates and their accelerations (‘rates of rates’) in the Essay in Circulation Analysis.  [CWL 15, 182]

But if the ultimate product qi is related by a double summation to the contributions of factors of production qijk, then the total flow of ultimate products Qi is also related by a double summation to the rates of the contributions of the factors of production Qijk, where both Qiand Qijk are instances of the form so much or so many every so often.’  (CWL 15, 30)

In the graphs superscripts identify basic (‘) or surplus (“) elements.  Absence of superscripts here indicates “in any case.”

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FMD’s Take on Greg Mankiw’s Take on Modern Monetary Theory


  • .I. Introductory
  • .II. The “legal” basis of our criticism; the “laws” of the process
  • .III. Key objections to Modern Monetary Theory
  • .IV. Observations re “A Skeptic’s Guide to Modern Monetary Theory”
  • .V. Why and how the Basic Expansion fails to be implemented
  • .VI.  Addendum #1: Primary relativities of the economic process
  • .VII. Addendum #2: Excerpts re the drift to totalitarianism

Continue reading.

A Superior and Far Less Expensive Macroeconomics Textbook

A very expensive macroeconomics textbook, having 700-1000 pages, would contain a lot of interesting history, a lot of fuzzy psychology, unscientific analysis, and uncertain conclusions.  A reader would not gain a clear theory and complete explanation of the dynamics of the real economic process.  However, is there not a superior 228-page, far less expensive  textbook right in our hands?  How about this?  Reword the subtitle of CWL 15 from An Essay in Circulation Analysis to A Textbook of Circulation Analysis, and let the professor instruct the serious student to read the book three times, then report back to discuss the following:

  • the canons of empirical method
  • a scientific, dynamic  heuristic
  • the technique of implicit definition; explanatory terms defined by the functional relations in which they stand with one another
  • velocitous functional unities of scientific and explanatory significance replacing the BEA’s descriptive, commonsense, accountants’ unities
  • the structure of the lagged, rectilinear productive process
  • money as a dummy invented by man
  • the perspective of a hierarchical series of monetary circuits
  • how a monetary circulation meets the rectilinear production-and-vending process
  • the primary relativities and concomitance in the Diagram of Rates of Flow
  • dynamic equilibrium replacing static Walrasian general equilibrium
  • the velocity of money in terms of magnitudes and frequencies
  • prices are not a given and not requiring explanation; rather prices are in need of explanation
  • interpretation of prices, quantities, interest rates in the light of significant explanatory variables
  • the pure cycle and its constituent phases in the expansion of the objective economic process
  • the abstract primary relativities and concrete secondary determinations in the expansion of the economic process
  • the statistical residue and why prediction is impossible in the general case; predicting weather vs. predicting planetary motion
  • the significance of investment’s monetary correlate
  • the ineptitude of manipulating interest rates
  • the explanation of government and foreign-trade imbalances by the dynamics of superposed circuits
  • the distinction between efficient cause and formal cause
  • distinguishing between self-healing and the effect of interventions
  • the intelligibility and explanatory power of the basic price-spread ratio
  • Figures 14-1, 24-7, and 27-1 in CWL 15

The student would learn much that is radically different, explanatory, and very useful; and he/she would gain a perspective or framework by which to evaluate and criticize the flawed premises and tenets of conventional textbooks and traditional theories.


Two economic mechanisms. Two components of concrete relations. Two simultaneous roles for human participants

Part I. Two economic mechanisms. Two components of concrete relations. Two simultaneous roles for human participants

It is the viewpoint of the present inquiry that, besides the pricing system, there exists another economic mechanism, that relative to this system man is not an internal factor but an external agent, and that the present economic problems are peculiarly baffling because man as external agent has not the systematic guidance he needs to operate successfully the machine he controls. [CWL 21, 109]

What the analysis reveals is a mechanism distinct though not separable from the price mechanism which spontaneously coordinates a vast and ever shifting manifold of otherwise independent choices from demand and of decisions from supply. It is distinct from the price mechanism, for it determines the channels within which the price mechanism works.  It is not separable from the price mechanism, for a channel is irrelevant when nothing flows through it. [CWL15, 17] [Continue reading).

The Role of Philanthropy to Achieve the Good of Economic Order: Notes Towards a Normative Model

Philanthropy: Anyone familiar with the medical and cultural institutions of Metropolitan Boston – upon which institutions the regional economy rides piggyback – cannot help but admire the beneficence, wisdom, and benefit of philanthropy:  the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; the Connors Family Learning Center and the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College; the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care and the Wang Building at Mass General; The Rosenberg Building at Beth Israel Hospital; the Salvation Army Kroc Center on Dudley St.; the Harry V. Keefe Library and the Clough Center for Global Understanding at Boston Latin School; the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard; the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; museums, endowed scholarship funds, hundreds of endowed chairs, stained glass windows, etc. (Continue reading)

The Process is Always the Current, Purely Dynamic Process, etc. (See full title specification below.)

The process is always the current, purely dynamic process.  The analysis is purely functional, purely relational and explanatory analysis.  The theory is general and universally applicable  to concrete determinations in any Instance; The theory is a normative theory having a condition of equilibrium.

Our subheadings in this treatment are as follows:

  • Always the Current Process:
  • A Purely Dynamic Process Requiring a Dynamic Heuristic:
  • A Purely Functional Analysis:
  • A Purely Relational, Explanatory Analysis:
  • A Theory, General and Universally Applicable to Concrete Determinations in Any Instance:
  • A Normative Theory Having a Condition of Equilibrium:

Always the Current Process: Continue reading

Lonergan’s functional, analytic distinctions are prior to and more fundamental than changes in prices, interest rates, and employment

Lonergan is alone in using this difference in economic activities to specify the significant variables in his dynamic analysis… no one else considers the functional distinctions between different kinds of (production flows) prior to, and more fundamental than, … price levels and patterns, … interest and profits, and so forth….only Lonergan analyzes booms and slumps in terms of how their (explanatory) velocities, accelerations, and decelerations are or are not equilibrated in relation to the events, movements, and changes in two distinct monetary circuits of production and exchange as considered both in themselves (with circulatory, sequential dependence) and in relation to each other by means of crossover payments. [CWL 15, Editors’ Introduction, lxii]