Tuesday, December 28, 2004
For what it's worth: When Bernard Lonergan came to decide how to spend his last intellectually productive years, he was deciding between Christology and economics, the latter of which had been an interest of his for four decades. The result of the decision he made is volume 15 in Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis. Some of his earlier work in economics is collected in vol. 21 of the CW: For a New Political Ecomony. In part II ("Healing and Creating in History") of vol 15 (at p. 105) Longergan writes: "If we are to escape [the collapse of our civilization], we must demand that two requriements be met. The first regards economic theorists; the second regards moral theorists. From economic theorists we have to demand, along with as many other types of analysis as they please, a new and specific type that reveals how moral precepts have both a basis in economic process and so an effective application to it. From moral theorists we have to demand, along with their various other forms of wisdom and prudence, specifically economic precepts that arise out of economic process itself and promote its proper functioning." What made Lonergan's particular approach to economics possible and exigent, he explained, was his discovery that the Thomistic tradition he inherited had been closed and static; Lonergan's economics has as its aim the expansion of being in (salvation) history. For Lonergan, any adequate Christian political theory must include an economics aimed at efficient creation and just distribution of all the goods necessary for human life and increase.