In this essay Sean McNelis considers Lonergan's contribution to economic thought. He outlines the unique aspects of Lonergan's economics and its basis in his notion of a scheme of recurrence as developed in Insight. He argues that Lonergan's heuristic, the scheme of recurrence, poses a challenge for current social and economic research, particularly where it is dominated by common sense thinking and focused on the motivations of social agents. The essay illustrates some unique aspects of this heuristic: the ordered hierarchy of technology, economics and politics; the distinction between the patterns of an economy and the coincidental motivations of participants; the functional relations between series of groups of activities; the normativity immanent within the productive process; and the democratic focus of Lonergan's analysis. He illustrates Lonergan’s heuristic through two related examples. He discusses a theory of rental systems in social housing and then locates this discussion within Lonergan’s collaborative division of labour.
ACU series: Fifty years of insight: Bernard Lonergan's contribution to philosophy and theology / Neil Ormerod, Robin Koning and David Braithwaite (eds.),
chapter 10, pp. 175-204