Our concern, as always, is to understand and verifyhow moneyshouldcirculate to meet the rectilinear primary process of production and sale.We seek a normative theory which scientifically explains, rather than merely describes, the current, purely dynamic economic process.The scientificexplanation will be in the form of the objective relations of explanatory velocities and accelerations to one another. These explanatory conjugates will be abstract correlations defined by their functional relations among themselves – rather than descriptions – no matter how literary and vivid –ofconditions, states, and events as they are related to us and affect us for better or worse.Our goal is to achieve a scientific explanation yielding norms to which we must adapt. (Continue reading)
Philip McShane had a strong background in mathematics and theoretical physics; thus he was able to understand the scientific significance of Bernard Lonergan’s macroeconomicfield theory in an Einsteinian context. (See Philip McShane in Categories in the right sidebar)
First we display, in brief, key excerpts, many of which contain analogies from physics and chemistry, relevant to the science of Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics; then we show the same excerpts more fully within lengthier quotes. Continue reading →
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)
Abstraction is enriching. The relation of things to our senses must be transcended by abstraction; abstraction yields explanatory conceptsimplicitly defined by their functional relations to one another.
The commonsense accountingrelations 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 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 →
The non-Euclideans moved geometry back to premises more remote than Euclid’s axioms, they developed methods of their own quite unlike Euclid’s, and though they did not impugn Euclid’s theorems, neither were they very interested in them; casually and incidentally they turn them up as particular cases in an enlarged and radically different field. Continue reading →
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’swebsite.
Preliminarily, note the subtitle in Lonergan’s seminal work,Insight: A Study of Human Understanding. In the present context we might reword the subtitle A Study of Critical Thinking. A very smart person – learned in advanced mathematics and theoretical physics – called Lonergan’s book “The Most Significant Book of the Twentieth Century.”(Continue reading)
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)