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 STUDY OF ORGANISMS – ANIMAL AND ECONOMIC
- DETERMINISM AND INDETERMINISM – DISAGREEING WITH EINSTEIN
- CORRESPONDENCE IN THE CURRENT BASIC DYNAMIC, ORGANIC PROCESS; A DETERMINATE ALGEBRAIC FUNCTION OF THE FIRST DEGREE
- CORRESPONDENCE IN THE SURPLUS DYNAMIC, ORGANIC PROCESS; AN INDETERMINATE POINT-TO-LINE CORRESPONDENCE
- AVOIDING A VICIOUS CIRCLE OF CRITICISM
- THREE IMPLICITLY-DEFINED CIRCULATORY ORGANS
- THE TRANSITION TO SYSTEMATIZATION
- THE ROLE OF MIND IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUMAN AND THE ECONOMIC ORGANISMS
.1. THE STUDY OF ORGANISMS – ANIMAL AND ECONOMIC: (Continue reading)
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]
Lonergan is alone … Only Lonergan … Continue reading
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)
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, instrumental, material, 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)
.I. Introduction: Contrasting Diagrams and What They Represent
We contrast an assumption and description with an explanation and interpretation. We contrast the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) assumption and description of pricing as exogenously given and acceptable as a lead item in analysis of economic problems with Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics’ (FMD’s) explanation and interpretation of pricing in the light of the significant functional pretio-quantital flows, which explain the dynamic economic process. (Continue reading)
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)
Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics acknowledges and affirms a non-systematic manifold of secondary determinations (such as prices and quantities), a Canon of Statistical Residues, and the impossibility of prediction in the general case. However, FMD affirms the existence of both human intelligence and the abstract, primary, immanent intelligibility of the objective, dynamic economic process. It is this abstract, primary, immanent intelligibility by which the process must always be understood so as to be properly managed.
Knocking a pendulum slightly out of its existing oscillation does not necessitate a search for a new theory of the pendulum in order to correct the mishap. The abstract theory of the pendulum in Newtonian mechanics still applies; the abstract intelligibility of the pendular motion is always relevant, in any instance, in any configuration of initial angle and initial velocity. The theory still applies, though the motion may be on a new basis determined by new initial conditions or boundary values. Continue reading
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)