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The Fundamental Quantum of Political Economy is Denoted by the Subscript k

 

Taking a cue from Descartes, Lonergan advised that we attend to the simple things that anyone can understand.

Again and again, in his regulae ad directionem ingenii, (Descartes) reverts to this theme.  Intellectual mastery of mathematics, of departments of science, of philosophy, is the fruit of a slow and steady accumulation of little insights.  Great problems are solved by being broken down into little problems.  The strokes of genius are but the outcome of a continuous habit of inquiry that grasps clearly and distinctly all that is involved in the simple things that anyone can understand.  (CWL 3, 3/27) Continue reading

The Mechanical Structure is a Pattern of Laws (Brief Item #85)

Our immediate task is to work out the correlations that exist between the velocity and accelerator rhythms of production and the corresponding rhythms of income and expenditure.  The set of such correlations constitutes the mechanical structure, a pattern of laws that stand to economic activity as the laws of mechanics to buildings and machines. [CWL 21, 43]  [#85]

In Macroeconomic Science, Beware Sentimentalism Lacking Intelligence (Brief Item #84)

[7/2/20] A rigidly egalitarian system belongs to a perfectly egalitarian world; (but) a world in which men are, in fact, unequal must find a different system.  What system?  If the idealism is sentiment without intelligence, it is as likely as not to mate with the underground cynicism of the revolutionaries to foist upon us a dictatorship of the proletariat in which the proletariat does not dictate (but secret police surveil and labor camps terrify), a dictatorship of the Herrenvolk in which the Volk obeys the Fuhrer.  But if that idealism can be brought to learn the discipline of logic and of scientific reflection, then it will impose a generalization of the exchange economy.  To determine the nature of such a generalization is the aim of this inquiry; but at once this is at least evident.  The vast forces of human benevolence can no longer be left to tumble down the Niagara of fine sentiments and noble dreams.  They have to be assigned a function and harnessed within the exchange system, for in no other way can that system shake off its fictitious fetters to move consistently towards its maximum. [CWL 21, 36]

generalization will … move to a higher synthesis that eliminates at a stroke both the problem of (insufficient basic incomes) and the complementary problem of (workers’ misinterpretations); it will attack at once both the neglect of economic education and the blare of advertisements leading the economically uneducated by the nose; it will give new hope and vigor to local life, and it will undermine the opportunity for peculation (embezzlement) corrupting central governments and party politics; … [CWL 21, 36-37] [84]

 

Lonergan, Marx, and Liberty

This section, Lonergan, Marx and Liberty, is presented simply in the form of a gathering of excerpts from different sources. The careful reading of the excerpts should inspire the reader to consult the sources for the rich context of each excerpt and for a fuller appreciation of Lonergan’s understanding and reasoning about the need for liberty. In brief, Lonergan demonstrates that Marx’s economics is insufficiently abstract and contaminated by descriptive sociological and political categories; he finds Marx’s summons to class conflict perilous to humanity because it promotes and enforces a drift away from liberty to a totalitarianism culminating in the dreadful conditions of a no-escape “frontier, clear and firm indoctrination, controlled media of information, a vigilant secret police, and the terrifying threat of labor camps,” – all in the name of a mythical macroeconomics. (Continue reading)

Why and How the Basic Expansion Fails to be Implemented

In the ideal pure cycle, the long-term expansion proceeds from a static phase through a proportionate-expansion phase , then through a surplus-expansion phase, then through a basic-expansion phase, and finally into a higher static phase.

At (the beginning of a basic expansion) an economic system is confronted with an intrinsic test. It success will be established if it can complete the major basic expansion and – without mishap, without inflation, without unemployment, without a break in confidence –  make its way serenely into the haven of the stationary state.  I mean of course, not the stationary state of mere backwardness, not the stationary state of stagnation when a disastrous crash follows on an earlier apparent triumph, but the stationary state that preserves all the gains of the preceding major expansions.  It is (then) content to produce their gains at a constant rate.  Its duration may be short or long, for in each case it must wait until such time as further new developments are grasped by human intelligence and eventually become practically conceived possibilities. [CWL 15, 80] (Continue reading)

A Gem [Brief Item #79]

[3/18/20] Michael Gibbons’ essay, “Economic Theorizing in Lonergan and Keynes” is a gem.

Gibbons, M. (1987) “Economic Theorizing in Lonergan and Keynes”Religion and Culture:  Essays in Honour of Bernard Lonergan S.J., Eds. J.P. Fallon and P.B. Riley, University of New York Press, Albany [Gibbons, 1987, pp. 313-23]

Gibbons’ essay is followed in the collection by essays of Patrick Byrne and Eileen De Neeve; all three are available together on line at Continue reading

Primary Functional Relativities in the Diagram of Rates of Flow

As represented below in the Diagram of Rates of Flow, in Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics the “basic terms are defined by their functional relations.”  The basic terms are precise analytical terms upon which a superstructure of explanatory relations can be constructed. Thus, the terms are of scientific and explanatory significance. (Continue reading)

Diagram of Rates of Flow 2

Diagram of Rates of Flow