… 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 →
I hope that this Sampler will a) demonstrate the breadth and depth of the knowledge that Lonergan brought to Macroeconomic Dynamics, and b) inspire readers to compare their perspective to his in regard to science and macroeconomics. His thinking ranged over mathematics, natural science, method, history, philosophy, theology, and art. This sampler is arranged in groups of excerpts from particular books of Lonergan. Scroll down to see the arrangement.
CWL 3, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding
“The most significant book of the twentieth century,” (Philip McShane)
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. … 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 concrete intelligibilityof Space is that it grounds the possibility of those simultaneous multiplicities named situations. The concrete intelligibility of Time is that it grounds the possibility of successive realizations in accord with the probabilities. In other words, concrete extensions and concrete durations are the field or matter or potency in which emergent probability is the immanent form of intelligibility. (CWL 3, 172) 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 →
A sound theory is a good thing to keep around. Clerk-Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory and Kirchoff’s lawsof electric circuits are good systematics to consult when one is designing a system to deliver electricity. Similarly, when one is seeking to understand, affirm, and manage the economic process, a reliable, scientific macroeconomics, which both explains how the process actually works and yields norms for adaptation by human participants, is a good thing to have around.
Common sense is different from science. Common sense describes; science explains. Common sense relates things to us; science relates things to one another. And scientificMacroeconomic Field Theory, also called Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics, is different from the mere commonsense compilation of descriptive accounting aggregates called Gross Domestic Product. Continue reading →
N. Gregory Mankiw’s two textbooks – Principles of Microeconomics (Fourth Edition, 2007) and Brief Principles of Macroeconomics (Fifth Edition, 2009) – have their first chapter entitled “Ten Principles of Economics.” The first four of the ten principles deal with the concept of efficient cause consisting in the subjectivepsychology of human participants as they make microeconomic decisions about their personal economic well-being. In contrast, Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis (1999) first treats the objective macroeconomic situation to whose laws the psychological participants must adapt in the conduct of their lives. Lonergan seeks the immanent macroeconomic intelligibility of the objectivesystem of production and exchange. Both Mankiw and Lonergan deal intelligently in the micro and macro realms. Lonergan seeks to treat “first thing first.” 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.
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 →
To help the reader gain an appreciation of Lonergan’s achievement of Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory we will, in each section, print leading excerpts, then highlight the key concepts of those excerpts. We will comment on the historically-significant advances in geometry of Euclid and Hilbert, in physics of Newton andEinstein, and in macroeconomics of Lonergan.
Euclid’s great achievement was his rigorous deduction of geometry.
Hilbert’s great achievement was his employment of implicit definition to reorder Euclid’s geometry.
Newton’s two great achievements were unifying the isolated insights of Galileo and Kepler into a unified system of mechanics and his invention of the calculus.
One of the great achievements of Einstein was the invention of the field theories of Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Gravitation.
One of Lonergan’s several great achievements was his systematization of macroeconomic phenomena in his Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory. He combined the technique of implicit definition introduced by Hilbert and the concept of a field theory developed by Faraday and Einstein; and he developed an explanatory macroeconomics, which is general, invariant, and relevant in any instance. (Continue reading)
In any analysis there is a right order of questions; and to violate this order is to invite misunderstanding, myth, and disaster. To indicate the wisdom in Lonergan’s analysis, we present excerpts, mainly from his CWL 12, which mandate clearly, for himself and for us, that one’s method and one’s heuristic necessitate putting questions in their right order. The precepts apply whether one is doing physics, economics, philosophy or theology. Continue reading →