The productive process is, then, the aggregate of activities proceeding from the potentialities of nature and terminating in a standard of living. Always it is the current process, and it is a purely dynamic entity. … the current process is always a rate of activity … the basic terms are rates (velocities) – rates of productive activities and rates of payments. [CWL 15, 20-21]
(Juxtapose next two paragraphs with the paragraph above)
The point-to-line and higher correspondences are based on the indeterminacy of the relation between certain products and the ultimate products that enter into the standard of living. Now (some would object that) such indeterminacy does not seem to be a fact. (Lonergan proceeds to refute.) [CWL 15, 27]
The analysis that insists on the indeterminacy is the analysis that insists on the present fact: estimates and expectations are proofs of the present indeterminacy and attempts to get round it; and, to come to the main point, an analysis based on such estimates and expectations can never arrive at a criticism of them; it would move in a vicious circle. It is to avoid that circle that we have divided the process in terms of indeterminate point-to-line and point-to-surface and higher correspondences. [CWL 15, 28]
Since the objective economic process is always the current process, we are interested mainly in the single explanatory principle or law, or the fully-connected cluster of related explanatory principles and laws, that continuously interconnect any and all current functional relations within the purely dynamic process.
Consider a second-order differential equation that is a general rule governing elliptical motion. As a general rule it will be universally valid in regard to all elliptical motion; it can be used to derive a family of particular solutions.
A particular solution of this second-order differential equation using particular measured initial values or boundary values may be employed to give the particular law of motion of a particular planet, ceteris paribus.
This particular law will be continuously applicable, ceteris paribus and, absent any exogenous disruption, in all instances for this planet. There is no need to continuously gather and analyze data. The law tells us where the planet will be at any time. The law will always be currently revealing of the current position and velocity of the planet in its undisturbed orbit.
Again, we are interested mainly in the single principle or law, or the cluster of related principles and laws stating a unified set of insights, that give the universally valid general rule of behavior for the objective economic process.
We playfully, yet seriously, coin the word current-cy to suggest to the conscious and subconscious a triple of important meanings: a.) the present time of the current process, b.) a process of flows, as in electric current or river current, c.) the vital role of money, as in the Euro currency. There is always a currency (flow) of currency (money whether cash or unit of account) in the currency (present time). There is always a present monetary circulation of interdependent monetary functionings correlated with the activities of production and sale.
To be sure, the economy does not have the rigidities of planetary motion. From time to time investment opportunities may be greater or lesser, participants may violate norms out of ignorance or malice. But the explanation of the economy in equations defining the laws of expenditures and costs is always a current invariant. One must not confuse the law of primary relativity, which includes specification of intrinsic cyclicality, with the probabilities of occurrence.
Also, prediction and control are not legitimate ends of science, especially in the human sciences.
For Lonergan, prediction and control are not legitimate ends of science because they are not the same as verified understanding, which is the true aim of science. Moreover, prediction and control in the area of the so-called applied human sciences conflict with the very nature of the subject matter of human science: on the one hand, prediction and control depend upon and imply the policy of elimination of human freedom; on the other, human freedom is something that may just spring up even in situations in which people have managed practically to eliminate it. [CWL 15, Editors’ Introduction, ftnt 32, xxxvii]
So, while Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics constitutes a scientific theory, the economic process does not possess the rigidity of planetary orbits. While functional macroeconomics consists of a set of equations and yields a set of norms to which human participants must adapt, there are possibilities upon which the normative process may go awry. While physics has its probabilities of occurrence, it also has diverging conditions and the non-systematic. In economics there is the ignorance of participants and the freedom to do as one will. While the process has classic scientific laws of the pure cycle, the process is fraught with the indeterminacy of human adaptation and of the random deviations from the statistical predictions (probabilities or ideal frequencies).
Perhaps we could use the word “nowness” and speak of the laws of the “continuing right-nowness” of the current, purely dynamic process.