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Foreword

…philosophers for at least two centuries, through doctrines on politics, economics, education, and through ever further doctrines, have been trying to remake man, and have done not a little to make human life unlivable. The great task that is demanded if we are to make it livable again is the re-creation of the liberty of the subject, the recognition of the freedom of consciousness.1B. Lonergan, Topics in Education, ed. R. Doran, F. Crowe, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, Volume 10, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 232.

Imagine having an economic theory that is correct. What would life be like if we knew how economies work, and are working. Consider what would happen if we could implement intelligent and responsible strategies and policies that supported a sane and sustainable economy. Imagine ending the role of contemporary economics in advancing economic, political, ecological, and cultural crises.

Imagine if economic theory was grounded in data and facts and broke free from economic models shaped by social, philosophical, moral, ecological, or psychological factors. Imagine economists focused on what actually happens in neighbourhoods, towns, cities, counties, provinces, regions, nations, and the globe. Imagine a new standard model of economics that is truly scientific where economies are two-flow structures and we can trace the journey and function of money.

Imagine our economies not lurching back and forth between boom and bust, and GDP no longer the measure of the health and success of an economy. What if we grasped the role of innovation and the operation of a double surge in economies, that is how increasing the production of surplus goods & services can make a surge in consumer goods & services possible. We would be able to ask what sort of monetary strategies, policies, plans, and laws are required to support a double surge.

Imagine correcting additional errors in contemporary economics. What if we made the commoditization of money illegal, and instead focused on how to best use money to support the operation of economies. Firms on Bay Street and Wall Street would no longer destabilize the productive process and the flow of money. What if businesspeople moved beyond the profit motive to an explanatory understanding of the proper functions of ‘normal’ profit and ‘pure’ profit in economies. What if we also realized we need two types of taxation – one on surplus goods & services and another tax on consumer goods & services. What if we no longer obsessed about favourable trade balances and instead were empirical and used the two-flow standard model to help answer the question ‘How do money, goods, and services actually flow between economies?’

Imagining and conceiving a new science of economics is certainly one major challenge. And moving the new standard model into our local and global neighbourhoods, as Terrance Quinn and John Benton point out, will also involve a massive effort calling for a collaboration among eight distinct types of intra- and inter- disciplinary specialists. However, for us today, Quinn and Benton’s tapestry of clear explanations, concrete examples, insightful analyses, sound arguments, pithy criticisms, and sensible suggestions certainly provide the needed basis to get us on our way to conceiving and realizing sane and sustainable economies and lives.

− Professor Bruce Anderson,
Sobey School of Business,
St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada.

 

− Professor Michael Shute,
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
(Author of Lonergan’s Discovery of the Science of Economics
& Lonergan’s Early Economic Research)

 

November 17, 2019

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