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Merry Christmas! Let There Be Light!

To our readers in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and elsewhere,

Merry Christmas!   Let there be light!

Joyeux Noël!   Que la lumiere soit!

Buon Natale!   Sia la luce!

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Feliz Navidad!   Que haya luz!

Feliz Natal!   Que haja luz!

Frohe Weinachten!   Es werde licht!

Felix Nativitas!  Fiat lux!

Heuristic ⇒ Method ⇒ Discovery ⇒ Formulations ⇒ Coherent Hypothesis and Theory ⇒ Verification ⇒ Implementation

.1.  Science is explanation of phenomena by implicit formulas wherein the relations define the terms, the terms define the relations, and insight fixes both.  All relations are coherent – of terms with terms and formulas with formulas – with one another so as to comprise a complete theory.

.2.  Insights yield terms related to one another; thus, properly representative terms in their relations may qualify as possible explanatory conjugates.

.3.  A heuristic states the goal of a search.  A method is the process or procedure which leads to a goal.

.4. Generalization is needed to unify and supersede the scattered insights of Establishment Economics. (Continue reading)

Catherine Blanche King’s Comments

I quoted Catherine King in the very first line of my previous blog.

Functions are not seen, but must be understood. (Catherine Blanche King, private communication)

I am grateful to Catherine for responding with valuable comments providing needed context to the quote.  Herewith, her comments:

Hello John:

Glad to hear from you.

About that quote, it’s really brief but probably needs to be in some contexts at least.

But the underlying issue is one of an already-learned idea about opening our eyes and seeing, and then wrongly equating that common activity with what happens when we understand.  The more nuanced point, then, is that we do sense, but also that WHAT we sense we also ask about . . . so that the wrong-view that seeing equates to understanding can give way to the right view that wonder, questioning, and then having insights is what gives way to understanding and then even to knowing.

But the fundamental issue is to understand that the sensible, and much more, is also intelligible; and that we understand that intelligibility through intelligent process.

Just knowing that intellectually, however, is only a beginning to changing one’s already-set but erred viewpoint, which is usually set in our childhood . . . so it takes a good amount of thought to unearth that view and to experience change at the luminous core of our understanding.

As always, good luck and good insights as you undergo your work.


Contents of CWL 15, Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis

We have previously encouraged all to read in CWL 15, Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis, both the Editors’ Preface, by Charles C. Hefling, JR./xi, and the Editors’ Introduction, by Frederick G. Lawrence/xxv.  (Click here and here for 8/1/19 Brief Item and here)

Below we simply print the Contents headings of CWL 15.  The reader will note that the headings do not resemble very much the chapter headings one might find in a conventional macroeconomics textbook.  That is because Lonergan applied a radically different, scientific, dynamic heuristic to macroeconomics, and he put his questions in the right order.  He used precise analytic distinctions and implicit definition to achieve explanation in terms of dynamic, interdependent functionings. He achieved a radically different field theory of the economic process.  As a scientist he reached explanation by the way of analysis, and as a teacher he presented his discovery by the way of synthesis.  Thus he has been able to lead readers to understand his revolutionary Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory.

CWL 15, Contents

  • General Editors’ Preface, Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran/ix
  • Editors’ Preface, Charles C. Hefling, JR./xi
  • Editors’ Introduction, Frederick G. Lawrence/xxv
  • Acknowledgments/lxxiii
  • Preface/3
  • Summary of the Argument/ 5

Part One/7

  • 1 Analysis /7
  • 2 Economic Process/ 12
  • 3 Significant Basic Variables/14
  • 4 Circulation Analysis/16
  • 5 Procedure/17
  • 6 The Productive Process/23
  • Additional Note to Section 6  /22
  • 7 Division of the Productive Process/23
  • 8 The Basic Stage of the Productive Process/28
  • 9 The Surplus Stage/31
  • 10 Cycles of the Productive Process/35
  • 11 A Technical Restatement/36
  • 12 Classes of Payments/38
  • 13 Rates of Payment and Transfer/45
  • 14 Diagram of Rates of Flow/55
  • 15 Circuit Acceleration (I)/56
  • Appendix to Section 15/65
  • 16 Circuit Acceleration (II)/68
  • 17 Measuring Change in the Productive Process (I)/70
  • 18 Phases in the Productive Process/75
  • 19 Mistaken Expectations/80
  • 20 Misadventures/82
  • 21 Methodological Shifts/86
  • 22 The Position of This Essay/91

Part Two/97

  • Healing and Creating in History/97

Part Three/107

  • 23 Measuring Change in the Productive Process (II)/107
  • 24 The Cycle of the Productuve Process/113
  • Additional Note to Section 24: The Pure Cycle/120
  • 25 Price and Quantity Changes in Accelerating Circuits/128
  • Additional Note to Section 25: The Phases in Circuit Acceleration – A Technical Statement/130
  • 26 The Cycle of Basic Income/133
  • 27 The Cycle of Pure Surplus Income/144
  • 28 The Cycle of the Aggregate Basic Price Spread/156
  • 29 Superposed Circuits/162
  • 30 The Balance of Foreign Trade/165
  • 31 Deficit Spending and Taxes/173
  • Appendix: History of the Diagram, 1944-1998, Patrick H. Byrne/177
  • Glossary of Symbols/203
  • Index/215

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

The Two Components of Concrete Relations

One cannot help but think that Bernard Lonergan had functional macroeconomic dynamics clearly in mind as he treated the intelligibility of world process in CWL 3, Insight: …, which is very much an implementation of the act of understanding of mathematicians and natural scientists.  In his understanding of mathematics, the natural sciences, and the science of macroeconomics in particular, he grasped that the explanation of the dynamic concrete process is expressed by a mathematical conjunction of component abstract primary relativities with component concrete secondary determinations from the non-systematic manifold.  And these secondary determinations, such as particular prices and quantities, are to be interpreted in the light of the significant, abstract, explanatory variables rather than in the obscurity of the IS-LM, and AD-AS models. (Continue reading)

The Significance of Burley’s And Csapo’s Characteristic Equation And Its Root Solution

Our references in this section are [Burley, 1992-2] and [Burley and Csapo, 1992-1].

Burley, Peter and Csapo, Laszlo, (1992) Money Information in Lonergan-von Neumann Systems, Economic Systems Research, Vol 4, No. 2, 1992 [Burley and Csapo, 1992-1]

Burley, Peter (1992) Evolutionary von Neumann Models, Journal of Evolutionary Economics 2 , 269-80 [Burley, 1992-2]

We consider a game-theoretic, von Neumann model of the transitional process from an initial stationary state to a more abundant stationary state, with matrix A of inputs and matrix B of outputs containing explanatory functional variables.  (continue reading)

Gennaioli and Shleifer’s Recent Book: “A Crisis of Beliefs”

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

The Simple Move to Two Explanatory Circuits; New Foundations of a Scientific Dynamics; NIPA’s GDP Replaced by FMD’s GDFF

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]

Continue reading