Andrei Shleifer is a professor of economics at Harvard University. Nicola Gennaioli is a professor in the Department of Finance at Bocconi University, Milan.
A Crisis of Beliefs is well worth reading as either a treatise on psychology or as an application of a model of psychology to people’s mistaken thinking and acting in certain economic circumstances.
But Gennaioli and Shleifer must ask, How would the human participants act if, instead of being a bundle of desires, fears, cognitive biases, and ignorance regarding the abstract primary relativities of the economic process, they understood the laws of the process and the precepts for adaptation yielded by the laws? That is to ask, Is there a set of laws independent of human psychology and above intellectual ignorance to which human participants would enlightenedly adapt if they understood them? And, if so, is not the primary responsibility of professors of macroeconomics to educate and enlighten participants as to the laws they are violating so as, thus, to curb automatically their irrational psychological tendencies? Continue reading
Lonergan’s two-circuit diagram (below) represents a theoretical breakthrough. It replaces the single-circuit diagram common to the textbooks of macroeconomics.
Lonergan started with a dominant one-flow economic analysis – think in terms of the household-firm diagram – and separated it into two flows “to form a more basic concept and develop a more general theory.” 21 …The distinction was never built scientifically (by other economists) into a systematics of dynamic economics [McShane, 2017, viii; ftnt 22]
To reach a theory of macroeconomic dynamics we need, in the first place, a scientific and dynamic heuristic guiding us to a scientific explanation of the current, purely dynamic, concrete, economic process.
(Ragnar) Frisch’s failure to develop a significant theory typifies the failure of economists who search for a dynamic heuristic. As well as a fundamental disorientation of approach there is also a tendency to shift to an inadequate level of abstraction with a premature introduction of boundary conditions in a determinate set of differential and difference equations. [McShane, 1980, 114]
This set of excerpts has been assembled so as to inform and inspire. In its own way it informs the reader of the minds of Lonergan and key commentators. And it will, we hope, inspire the serious macroeconomist to reach up to those minds.
The section has not been arranged in a rigorous manner. On the contrary, it is a sort of random walk. But we hope the benefit of one’s reading it attentively will be great.
Schumpeter acknowledged that dynamic analysis called for a new light on equilibrium. Such new light arises when, over and above, the equilibria of supply and demand with respect to goods and services, there are recognized further equilibria that have to be maintained…..Moreover, such macroequilibria are more fundamental than the microequilibria assembled by Walras. The former are the conditions of a properly functioning economy [CWL 15, 92] (continue reading)
We frequently make the claim that Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics sublates all other macroeconomic theories by reaching an adequate level of abstraction, or a deeper unity, or a more profound point of view, or a purely relational, fully explanatory, scientific macroeconomics. This deeper intelligibility fully explains the economic process and eliminates at a stroke much of what is contained in the current popular 700-page textbooks.
Ragnar Frisch was a Norwegian economist and the co-recipient of the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1969.
Frisch’s failure to develop a significant theory typifies the failure of economists who search for a dynamic heuristic. As well as a fundamental disorientation of approach there is also a tendency to shift to an inadequate level of abstractionwith a premature introduction of boundary conditions in a determinate set of differential and difference equations. [McShane, 1980, 114] continue reading
On ensuing pages we list precepts mandated by a non-political, scientific Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics. The precepts are practical precepts for free people. Prior to that list we cite several passages used as the basis for the precepts.
It is the viewpoint of the present inquiry that, besides the pricing system, there exists another economic mechanism, that relative to this system man is not an internal factor but an external agent, and that the present economic problems are peculiarly baffling because man as external agent has not the systematic guidance he needs to operate successfully the machine he controls. [CWL 21, 109] (continue reading)
One of Lonergan’s great contributions to humanity was his division of scholarship into eight functional specialties: research, interpretation, history, dialectic, foundations, doctrines, systematics, and communications. Persons familiar with Lonergan’s works might read the title of this website and immediately, but mistakenly, think that this website is an application of the eight functional specialties to macroeconomics. It is not. Herein, in order to explain the economic process, we are seeking to understand and systematize interconnected functional economic activities which are implicitly defined by the functional relations in which they stand with one another. Continue reading