Category Archives: Field Theory

Circulations: Blood, Electricity, Water, Money

The method of circulation analysis … involves a minimum of description and classification, a maximum of interconnections and functional relations.  … Analytic thinking uses classes based on similarity only as a springboard to reach terms defined by the correlations in which they stand.  [CWL 21, 111]

… the introduction of the notion of the monetary function… takes a further step towards defining a circulation of money……..not a rotational movement……. rather a circular series of relationships of dependence of some flows of payments on other flows.  Money moves only at the instant of payment or transfer.  Most of the time it is quiescent. … it may also be dynamically quiescent, and then it is held in reserve for some definite purpose. … Money held in reserve for a defined purpose will be said to be in a monetary functionFive such functions are distinguished: basic demand, basic supply, surplus demand, surplus supply, and a fifth redistributive function. (CWL 15,  48)…….

Volume 15 of Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan is entitled Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Lonergan analyzes and explains the economic process as a circulatory process; that is, as a dynamic organic process of interdependent circulatory flows of goods and services and their functionally-congruent payments.  It is to be understood and verified as a coherent set of flows implicitly-defined by their functional relations to one another. Continue reading

Lonergan’s “Macroeconomic Field Theory” (MFT), AKA “Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics” (FMD)

Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics seeks not merely to “view” and describe the economic process; rather it seeks to understand and explain the process in order to provide norms of adaptation and systematic guidance to managers of the process(Continue reading)


Explanation By Gross Domestic Functional Flows To Supplement Description By Gross Domestic Product

A distinction has been drawn between description and explanation.  Description deals with things as related to us.  Explanation deals with the same things as related among themselves.  The two are not totally independent, for they deal with the same things and, as we have seen, description supplies, as it were, the tweezers by which we hold things while explanations are being discovered or verified, applied or revised. … [CWL 3, 291/316]

The analysis of the overall dynamic functioning, which we call in nominal terms the economic process, must seek the explanation of the process.   It must seek the objective immanent intelligibility among the interdependent, dynamic “functionings” which altogether constitute the process.  The functionings are rates of so much or so many every so often, and, thus, they are velocities.  And the scientific analysis must be in terms of abstract, implicitly-defined, explanatory conjugates rather than in terms of the descriptive accountants’ unities of merely legal or proprietary entities called “firms.” (Continue reading)

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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Abstraction in Macroeconomics; Classical and Statistical Laws

Abstraction is enriching.  The relation of things to our senses must be transcended by abstraction; abstraction yields explanatory concepts implicitly defined by their functional relations to one another.

The commonsense accounting relations constituting historical Gross Domestic Product must be supplemented by the abstract explanatory formulation of Current Gross Domestic Functional Flows.  All participants must have the scientific guidance of a normative theory in order to properly adapt their personal conduct to the principles and laws of the objective process. (Continue reading)

The Principle of Concomitance: The Foundation of Continuity, Equilibrium, and Explanatory Theory


  • .1. Concomitance and Correlation in Macroeconomic Field theory
  • .2. Five Notes re Abstraction; Abstraction is Enriching
  • .3. Resume Focus on Concomitance and Correlation in Macroeconomic Field Theory

.1. Concomitance and Correlation in Macroeconomic Field theory

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

 All science begins from particular correlations, but the key discovery is the interdependence of the whole.…its basic terms are defined by their functional relations[CWL 15, 53, 54, and 177]

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A Closely Knit Frame of Reference; the Channels Account for Booms and Slumps, for Inflation and Deflation,

The interconnected channels of the Diagram of Rates of Flow provide a closely knit frame of reference.  The channels account for booms and slumps, inflation and deflation.

The method of circulation analysis resembles more the method of arithmetic than the method of botany.  It involves a minimum of description and classification, a maximum of interconnections and functional relations.  Perforce, some description and classification are necessary; but they are highly selective, and they contain the apparent arbitrariness inherent in all analysis.  For analytic thinking uses classes based on similarity only as a springboard to reach terms defined by the correlations in which they stand.  To take the arithmetic illustration, only a few of the integral numbers in the indefinite number series are classes derived from descriptive similarity; by definition, the whole series is a progression in which each successive term is a function of its predecessor.  It is this procedure that gives arithmetic its endless possibilities of accurate deduction; and, as has been well argued, it is an essentially analogous procedure that underlies all effective theory. [CWL 21, 111] Continue reading

An Einsteinian Relativistic Context: Space and Time Become Space-Time; Price and Quantity become Price-Quantity; An Abstract Set of Invariant Explanatory Relations


  • .I. Relations and Relativity in General
  • .II. Einstein’s Special Relativity and General Relativity
  • .III Lonergan’s Double-Circuited, Pretio-Quantital Relativity Theory
  • .IV. The Basic Price Spread; The Co-ordinated Relativity of Three Major Pretio-Quantital Flows and the Co-operative Relations Within Each Major Flow
  • .V. The Macroeconomic Field Theory Equations
  • .VI. Concerning Verification
  • .VII. Miscellaneous Selections
  • .VIII. Conclusion

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Macroeconomic Field Theory’s Higher Laws Stand Above and Are Indifferent to the Endless Complexity Within the Exchange Solution

Part I – The Exchange Solution’s Complexity and Change:

The exchange solution stands above and is indifferent to endless complexity and endless change; it stands on a level above all particular products and all particular modes of production.

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