Bernard Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Dynamics

Author: Hoyt-O’Connor, Paul
While there has been growing interest in Lonergan’s economics among scholars of his work, there has been relatively little published on those writings, partly because they have not been widely available before their publication in the Collected Works. This work contributes toward Lonergan studies, situating Lonergan’s economic analysis in terms of his early and more mature philosophy of history. This book examines Bernard Lonergan’s essays in terms of his reflections upon human history and society and as contributing to the discussions regarding the free and democratic constitution of exchange economies. It aims to contribute to the wider discussion among moral and political philosophers and theologians concerning the responsible direction and constitution of economic life.


“Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Theory is one of the great theoretical advances of the twentieth century. It is easily as stunning an achievement as Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The potential contribution to the improvement of our day-to day lives, however, it much greater than the theory of relativity. Macroeconomic dynamics identifies the fundamental errors of mainstream approaches to economics, that have hobbled economic life over the past years, and offers a sound basis for healthy economic practice for the future. In one stroke Lonergan has achieved a leap in economic theory equivalent to the development in astronomy from Ptolemy to Einstein. If implemented Lonergan’s economics would profoundly alter global socio-economic patterns. No longer would most of the world’s citizens be at the mercy of global economic trends over which they have little control. Instead the economy would establish its proper place as the steady provider of the material needs for the advancement of personal liberties and cultural development. Unfortunately, Lonergan theory has failed to find an audience among mainstream economists. Part of the reason stems from resistance to such a profound paradigm change in the field of economics. Implementation of the theory would involve massive change in the habits of economists and cooperate leaders Part of the reason also stems from the poverty of introductory material which explains this challenging and difficult theory. Hoyt-O’Connor’s book is meant to address this problem. Placing Lonergan’s economic theory Lonergan’s more well- known philosophy and theology, Hoyt-O’Connor’s book provides an excellent introduction for economists, philosophers theologians and social scientists into the nuts and bolts of Lonergan’s economic theory. Relying primarily on the latter revised version of The Essay on Circulation Analysis (Collected Works, Volume 15) Hoyt-O’Connor offers a concise summary of the main features of macroeconomic dynamics in clear, understandable prose. He then placed the theory in the context of Lonergan’s more well-known analysis of the general dynamics of history and the human good. Hoyt-O’Connor does an excellent job of finding apt links economic theories known to most economists. This text may be an important vehicle in providing a link between Lonergan’s macroeconomic dynamics and mainstream economics. The book will also be of interest to Lonergan scholars, social scientists, theologians and anyone interested in social justice issues. For these reasons I urge publication of this important text.” - Michael Shute, Memorial University of Newfoundland

“This is an excellent work. [This book] brings together four sets of texts from the Lonergan corpus that normally are dealt with independently: the writings on history; the ethics; the theological writings on grace; and the economics… is wonderful. Hoyt-O’Connor has made an important contribution to conversations among Christian economists and social ethicists who are searching for an alternative to traditional economic approaches to poverty, development and economic equity. It is complex because the ideas are complex. However, it is readable. In fact, it is the most readable treatment of this set of ideas that I have encountered…..Edwin Mellen Press is to be congratulated for publishing this work.” – Kenneth R. Melchin, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
1. Lonergan’s Early Essays on History
2. History and the Human Good
3. Lonergan’s Analysis of the Productive Process
4. Lonergan;s Analysis of the Monetary Circulation
5. Lonergan’s Analysis of the Pure Cycle
6. Distortions of the Pure Cycle
7. Economic Process and the Dynamics of History
Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Texts