Lonergan's Contribution to Ecological Economics


  • Terrance Quinn Middle Tennessee State University




Bernard Lonergan, Ecological Economics, Capital Goods, Consumer Goods, Production Chains, Redistribution, Omni-disciplinary


This paper provides a brief introduction to Bernard Lonergan’s economic model, whose main features will contribute to a “transdisciplinary ecological economics”. Lonergan’s model was developed in the 1940s; however, some significant source documents only became available in the 1980s. It is worth looking at because it sheds light on current issues and may contribute to a needed “paradigm shift”. As in the searchings of contemporary ecological economics, the model calls for a new ethos. This paper touches on a few points for comparison between Lonergan’s model and mainstream and ecological economics.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Terrance Quinn, Middle Tennessee State University

Professor Emeritus, Mathematical Sciences, Middle Tennessee State University, 1301 E. Main Street, Murfreesboro TN 37132 USA


Allerton, M. 2016. “Functional Collaboration in Ecology.” In Seeding Global Collaboration, edited by P. Brown and J. Duffy, 209–219. Vancouver: Axial Publishing.

Andersen, T. B., Jensen, P. S., and Skovsgaard, C. V. 2016. “The Heavy Plow and the Agricultural Revolution in Medieval Europe.” Journal of Development Economics, 118: 133–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JDEVECO.2015.08.006

Anderson, B. 2001. “Foreign Trade in the Light of Circulation Analysis.” Journal of Macrodynamics Analysis, 1: 9–31. https://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/jmda/article/view/99

Anderson, B. 2002. “Basic Economic Variables.” Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis, 2: 37–60. https://journals.library.mun.ca/ojs/index.php/jmda/article/view/104

Anderson, B. 2012. “Is There Anything Special About Business Ethics?” Journal of Macrodynamics Analysis, 7: 54–68.

Anderson, B. 2016. “The Fifth Functional Specialty and Foundations for Corporate Law and Governance Policies.” In Seeding Global Collaboration, edited by P. Brown and J. Duffy, 115–127. Vancouver: Axial Publishing.

Audic, J.-L., Chaufer, B., and Daufin, G. 2003. “Non-Food Applications of Milk Components and Dairy Co-Products: A Review.” Lait 83 (6): 417–438. https://doi.org/10.1051/lait:2003027ï

Brown, P., McShane, P., Shute, M., O’Leary, D., and Zanardi, W. 2018. “Do You Want a Sane Global Economy.” Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis, 11. Retrieved from https://journals.library.mun.ca.

Burley, P. 1989. “A Von Neumann Representation of Lonergan’s Production Model.” Economic Systems Research 1 (3): 317–330. https://doi.org/10.1080/09535318900000021

Burley, P. and Csapo, L. 1992. “Money Information in Lonergan-von Neumann Systems.” Economic Systems Research 4 (2): 133–142. https://doi.org/10.1080/09535319200000012

Coscieme, L., Sutton, P., Mortensen, L. F., Kubiszewski, I., Costanza, R., Trebeck, K., Pulselli, F. M., Giannetti, B. F., and Fioramonti, L. 2019. “Overcoming the Myths of Mainstream Economics to Enable a New Wellbeing Economy.” Sustainability 11 (16): 1–17. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/16/4374

Costanza, R, Daly, L., Fioramonti, L., Giovannini, E., Kubiszewski, I., Mortensen, L. F., Pickett, K. E. et al. 2016. “Modelling and Measuring Sustainable Wellbeing in Connection with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” Ecological Economics, 130: 350–355. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2016.07.009.

Costanza, R. 2019. “Ecological Economics 1.” Encyclopedia of Ecology 4: 258–264. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.11124-8.

Costanza, R. 2019. “Ecological Economics 2.” Encyclopedia of Ecology 4: 265–269. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-008045405-4.00118-X

Costanza, R. 2020. “Ecological Economics in 2049: Getting Beyond the Argument Culture To the World We All Want.” Ecological Economics 168: 106484. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2019.106484

Crowe, F. 1998. “The Date of 'For a New Political Economy'.” In Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: For a New Political Economy, edited by P. J. McShane, 319–324. https://utorontopress.com/ca/for-a-new-political-economy-3.

Duffy, J. 2018. “Minding the Economy of Campo Real.” Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education 29 (1L): 1–24.

Freeman, C. and Louca, F. 2002. As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gerber, J. F. and Steppacher, R. 2014. “Some Fundamentals of Integral Economics.” World Futures 70 (7): 442–463. https://doi.org/10.1080/02604027.2014.982464

Goldsmith, C. 2019. “Why GDP is No Longer the Most Effective Measure of Economic Success. World Finance. https://www.worldfinance.com/strategy/why-gdp-is-no-longer-the-most-effective-measure-of-economic-success.

Hagens, N. J. 2020. “Economics for the Future – Beyond the Superorganism.” Ecological Economics 169: 106520. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2019.106520.

The Economist. 2019. “Economic Growth Does Not Guarantee Rising Happiness.” The Economist, March 21. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/03/21/economic-growth-does-not-guarantee-rising-happiness.

Kalecki, M. 1990. Collected Works of Michal Kalecki. Edited by J. Osiatynski and C. Adam Kisiel. Oxford University Press.

Kapoor, A. and Debroy, B. 2019. “GDP Is Not a Measure of Human Well-Being.” Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/10/gdp-is-not-a-measure-of-human-well-being.

Liddy, R. M., Byrne, P. H., De Neeve, E., St. Amour, P., Hoyt-O’Connor, P., Melchin, K. R., Finn, D., et al. 2010. The Lonergan Review. Perspectives from Bernard Lonergan. Volume 2. Forging a New Economic Paradigm. Retrieved from https://www.pdcnet.org/collection-anonymous/browse?fp=lonerganreview&fq=lonerganreview%2FYear%2F6990%7C2010%2F.

Lonergan, B. 1969. “Functional Specialties in Theology.” Gregorianum, 50, no. 3, 485–505. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23574178?seq=1.

Lonergan, B. 1998. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: For a New Political Economy. 1st ed. Edited by Philip J. McShane. https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442674981.

Lonergan, B. 1999. Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis.1st ed. Edited by C. C. Hefling, Frederick G. Lawrence, and Patrick H. Byrne. www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442676879.

Lonergan, B. 2017. “Healing and Creating in History.” In Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: A Third Collection. Edited by R. M. Doran and J. D. Dadosky, 94–103. https://utorontopress.com/ca/a-third-collection.

Lund, U. 2013. “How the Heavy Plough Changed the World, New Technology Ploughed its Way to Prosperity in Medieval Northern Europe.” ScienceNordic. http://sciencenordic.com/how-heavy-plough-changed-world.

Mankiw, N. G. 2006. “The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20 (4):29–46. https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.20.4.29

Quinn, T. 2018. “Anatomy of Economic Activity: There Are Two Main Flows.” American Review of Political Economy 13. www.arpejournal.com/archived-issues/volume-13-issue-1-papers-and-proceedings-of-the-2018-icape-conference/anatomy-of-economic-activity-there-are-two-main-flows/.

Røpke, I. 2004. “The Early History of Modern Ecological Economics.” Ecological Economics 50 (3–4): 293–314. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.02.012.

Schumpeter, J. 2012. The Theory of Economic Development. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Shute, M. 2010a. Lonergan’s Discovery of the Science of Economics. 1st ed. https://utorontopress.com/ca/lonergan-s-discovery-of-the-science-of-economics-2.

Shute, M. 2010b. Lonergan’s Early Economic Research: Texts and Commentary. 1st ed. Edited by M. Shute. https://utorontopress.com/ca/lonergan-s-early-economic-research-2.

Spash, C. L. 2012a. “New Foundations for Ecological Economics.” Ecological Economics 77: 36–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2012.02.004.

Spash, C. L. 2012b. “Towards the Integration of Social, Economic and Ecological Knowledge.” In Towards an Integrated Paradigm in Heterodox Economics, edited by J.-F. Gerber and R. Steppache, 26–46. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230361850_2

Spash, C. L. 2019. “Time for a Paradigm Shift: From Economic Growth and Price-Making to Social Ecological Economics.” SRE Discussion Papers. https://epub.wu.ac.at/7288/1/sre-disc-2019_07.pdf.

Spash, C. L. and Smith, T. 2019. Of Ecosystems and Economies: Re-connecting Economics with Reality. https://ideas.repec.org/p/wiw/wiwsre/sre-disc-2019_03.html.

Stiglitz, J. E. 2020. “GDP Is the Wrong Tool for Measuring What Matters.” Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gdp-is-the-wrong-tool-for-measuring-what-matters/.

Additional Files