Chapter 4. The Meaning, Mandate and Mindset of Economics

Chapter Summary: Economics does not reflect enough on its place among other spheres of life. We discuss the meaning and mandate of economics and the prevailing mindset towards economics, of isolation and reductionism instead of embeddedness among other spheres of life. We offer a new basis for discussing economic growth.

See the Note on use of word "economics" for what we mean by economics as a science, practice, field, discipline or sphere.

As we noted in the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2, there is a vast range of problems with, or caused by, econmics, and a huge plethora of discussions of them and possible ways ahead. Before we even begin to discuss elements of economics like value, transactions and inflation, we need an integrated understanding of what economics is all about and what it should do. We need one that is broad and deep enough to welcome each and every good insight found in all these views. But, as Fullbrook [2009, 7] remarks, "Questions concerning the fundamental nature of economic phenomena are not yet basic to the practice of economics." That it what this chapter is about.

This chapter asks:

In the process, we will gain some perspective on things like economic growth and the relationship between micro and macro economics.

To introduce these, we first briefly look at economics as it currently is seen, as field of study and practice and as a sphere of human life.

4-1. Views About Economics

Summary: How is economics defied and what are the weaknesses in these definitions? What Good can and should economics bring?

4-1.1 Incomplete Definitions of Economics

Summary: Conventional definiitions of economic are insufficient; what insight may we glean from them? We propose another.

"Economics is the study of the economy" [Goodwin 2023] is not very useful: what is "the economy"? It is, she says, "a system of social organization" - but so are government or church. She then identifies four "principal types of economic activity ... production, distribution .. consumption ... maintaining resources" - better, but what are these? In what sense are musical composition or growing apples "production"?

We are not looking for the perfect definition of economics, nor even any definition [Note: Definitions], but extant definitions reveal a lot about what is meaningful in economics and our prevailing mindset. Looking at some definitions as exemplars indicates how we proceed in this Rethink. Definitions arise from different overarching perspectives about the meaning of economics and an implicit idea of its mandate, which raised their concern:

That these definitions are all by reflective thinkers immersed in the field and yet aware of other spheres of life, implies that they deserve to be taken seriously. We see insight in all, but we do more than just collect them together as Samuelson did. (Interestingly, money and economic growth feature in none of these.) There are problems and flaws in them, and we examine the deeper reasons for them.

Take Robbins' definition, as an example (we leave readers to discuss flaws in others), widely accepted. It has several flaws [https://www.toppr.com/ask/question/discuss-prof-robbins-definition-of-economics-and-what-are-its-drawbacks/]:

Not all of these are solved by Samuelson's composite definition, which can itself exhibit some of these flaws.

Marshall's "means to ends" and relating economics to "the ordinary business of life" is helpful, insofar as it overcomes the isolation of economics. But Marshall does not discuss which ends are valid. Some economic ends bring harm, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, obesity and addiction.

Such flaws arise not from theory or rationality within the field but at a deeper level, from limited paradigms, worldviews and ground-motives - presuppositions about what it is meaningful to think about, as explained in Chapter 3.

For each of the concepts contained in the definitions, we may ask what they mean, including what they presuppose and entail. For example, Samuelson's definition: What is wealth, and why is it so important? What is scarcity, and why is it a problem? What are goods and services, and on what grounds may we judge them? On what basis should we distribute them? What are society's real needs, and are there some 'needs' that should not be met? Without answering those questions, we have no basis within economics for caring for the planet and the ecosphere, and perhaps not even to overcome poverty, overwork, or any of the other problems caused by economic activity. Since it is such problems that recent thinkers call for economics to embrace or recognise, we need a way to answer them.

The question, "What is economics all about?" concerns the place in the world that economics occupies, both its theory and its practice, the contribution that it does and it could make, as a science, a discipline and a day-to-day activity, especially in the form of that entity we call The Economy. Thomas Aquinas and Adam Smith concentrated on operations (production, exchange, distribution and consumption), as has much economics since then. But what are these all about? We need instead to investigate what the field of economics presupposes as meaningful and important in both practice and theory, and thus what makes each of its above components meaningful. [Note: Meaning]

4-1.2 Multi-aspectual Overall Good

Summary: Most discussions of economics implicitly presuppose some kind of Multi-aspectual Overall Good aim for economics. We make this explicit.

Most of the definitions of economics presuppose some notion of the Good. For example, Marshall speaks of "ends" towards which economics is a means. Many such notions are either vague or over-specific, so this Rethink is guided by the more specific yet holistic idea of Multi-aspectual Overall Good, as discussed in Chapter 3.

So, presupposed in most definitions is that economics (its activity, its structures, its science, its theories, etc.) contributes to Multi-aspectual Overall Good, but that is too general. The kind of contribution it makes is that which is uniquely meaningful in the economic aspect. So, if we wanted a definition, we need to understand what the kernel meaning of the economic aspect is.

Keep this in mind throughout the following discussion. It is the constitution of Multi-aspectual Good that gives economics its meaningfulness and the aim of contribution to Multi-aspectual Good that gives economics its mandate. The mindset of and within economics is to what extent it seeks to do that and is self-aware of it.

Few have discussed explicitly the unique Good that the economic aspect makes possible, though most allude to it and presuppose various kinds of Good. (Goodwin [2023] is one of few that attempts to discuss this question - "What is (or should be) the purpose of an economy?" - and laudably recognises the normative as well descriptive nature of that question; see Mandate below.) And few discuss interaction with other aspects. It is why we start by asking what is the meaning of economics.

4-2. The Meaning of Economics

Summary: Economics: so what? The meaning of economics is given by the economic aspect of reality closely linked with all other aspects, omitting none. With the help of Dooyeweerd, but going further, we discuss what unique, kernel meaning the economic aspect offers.

"Goods and Services"

"Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    twenty will not come again.
And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow."
        [A Shropshire Lad, A.E. Housman]

What is economics all about? What does economics mean - not only as a word but as a phenomenon and reality in life? Why is it important? What would we (and all Creation) miss if economics was not possible, nor we could live economically?

To gain a clear grasp of the meaning of economics sets all our other discussions on a foundation. The meaning of economics has usually been presupposed, seldom questioned, seldom discussed, and often mistaken. It does not lie only in 'the economy' (as Goodwin supposes), but far beyond it; in fact, the economy itself has no meaning except in fulfilment of the meaning of economics. (Philosophically, nothing can ultimately find meaning in itself; meaningfulness inherently refers beyond, especially in other aspects.) Consider the two things heading this section: the stanza and "Goods and Services".

Is it not curious that the words use for what economic activity produces, "goods" and "services", gain their meaningfulness from the ethical aspect, of self-giving love? Might this suggest something about the meaningfulness of the economic aspect, of economics and of 'the economy'? In contrast to the juridical aspect, with its idea of eye-for-eye and proportionality, the ethical aspect enables and urges us to forgive and repay good for evil. Instead of the juridical zero-sum activity of retribution, functioning in the ethical aspect brings what might be called "extra Good" into the world that was not there before. If the economic aspect contains this echo, then a focus on exchange (as in buying bread from a baker) that is equal and just (as most economics over the past few centuries presupposes) is not enough. There is a reason for exchange: some contribution is made to Good, including to Overall Good. Thus economic activity enables contribution to Multi-aspectual Overall Good that was not there before, as we defined in in Chapter 3.

We chose the above stanza because it very clearly expresses economic awareness in everyday experience of value independent of money, payment and transactions; it frees us from some conventional presuppositions that have shaped economics. That intuitive experience is of the limits of the resource of years of his life and that Good which involves the exquisite aesthetic pleasure of seeing the flowering into life of a British Spring which this resource enables.

4-2.1 How to Discuss the Meaning of Economics

Summary: Any question of meaning is best answered by reference to aspects (modalities of meaningfulness). To discuss the meaning of economics we first try to disclose the kernel meaningfulness of the economic aspect, and then bring in its links with all other aspects. Kernel meaning includes Good, norms, operations and links with other meanings.

When we ask "What is the meaning of economics?" we are asking which aspects make it meaningful - because aspects are modalities of meaningfulness. It so happens that there is an economic aspect of reality, so the meaning of economics is bound closely with the kernel meaningfulness of the economic aspect.

But what is that kernel meaningfulness? Kernel meanings are difficult to define, and any understanding of them is ultimately intuitive rather than theoretical or definable. When Milton Friedman offered the tautology,

"The purpose of business is business"

we suggest that he was trying to say something about the kernel meaningfulness of the economic aspect (which is the aspect that qualifies business) without explicit reference to other aspects. However, such a statement is meaningless without reference to other aspects, because of the very nature of aspectual meaningfulness: each aspect contains echoes of all others and depends on others, and only becomes meaningful when with implicit reference to other aspects. To make our implicit understanding explicit, Friedman's statement would be something like:

"The purpose of business is business that brings Good in all other aspects."

(Strictly, purpose is to do with mandate, as we discuss later, but it presupposes meaningfulness.)

When we ask what an aspectual kernel meaning is, we are asking about four things,

We discuss all, starting with a review of the definitions above, then discuss Dooyeweerd's attempt at the meaning-kernel of the economic aspect.

4-2.2 Separating Out Meanings in Extant Ideas

Summary: Extant definitions and other ideas about economics include a tangle of meanings that need to be separated out.

In the four definitions above, we find the following concepts (ignoring Keynes', which is more of a description than a definition): nation, wealth, goods & services, export & import, consumption, production, means & ends, availability, needs & requirements, people, satisfaction, human behaviour, end-means relationships, alternative or substitute uses, scarcity, employing resources, distribution and society. Elsewhere we find concepts like value, exchange, money, currency, etc.

Most such elements are all meaningful in the economic aspect of course, but they cannot tell us the unique meaning of this aspect even it we 'triangulate' them, because they bring in meaningfulness from other aspects (in which the order indicates an intuitive grasp of the relative importance of each aspect).

To separate out what is uniquely economic in these, we turn to philosophy that enables us to see economics in its wider meaning-context. On one hand, many philosophers seem to presuppose the economic aspect rather than explore it; for example Giddens, in his Structuration Theory [Note: Structuration Theory].

We may seek to understand the unique meaningfulness of economics by positing that there is an economic aspect of reality that is distinct from the others, and examining Dooyeweerd's discussion of this aspect.

Aquinas is one who discussed economics as such. His main concerns were just price, usury, division of labour, trade, and a labour theory of value. In theorizing them, he brought justice and ethics to bear. We applaud this attempt to embed economics within other within other spheres. But he effectively reduced the economic aspect to the juridical and ethical. So we do not find any idea of what unique contribution economics may make to Multi-aspectual Overall Good. Aquinas' ideas can inform just behaviour of markets but not wider economically important issues likeenvl degratation and unpaidhousehold work. We may notice that Aquinas drew on Aristotle and Augustine, treating them as prior authorities rather than critiquing their presuppositions [Note: Aquinas].

4-2.3 The Economic Aspect: Its Meaning-Kernel and Norm

Summary: The meaning-kernel and norm of the economic aspect are what the economic aspect brings into reality: dignity, value, sustainability, frugality, etc.

Though Dooyeweerd suggests (following Robbins) that the kernel norm of the economic aspect is frugality, which is a correlate of scarcity, we find this insufficient, because it only speaks of a norm, not of a kernel meaningfulness. It gives no idea of what Good comes from functioning well in the economic aspect, which is part of its meaningfulness. We argue that the meaning-kernel of the economic aspect involves:

and that the norm of frugality, and responsibility for the future, results from these. Sustainability is the Good possibility that this aspect introduces into Reality.

The detailed argument for all this may be found in a separate article On The Kernel Meaning and Norm of the Economic Aspect.

That is the kernel meaning of the economic aspect. But, as Dooyeweerd emphasises, its full meaningfulness involves that of all other aspects too. Looking at humanity's experience of economics, is the economic aspect itself might be telling us all, "I do not work by self-interest nor greed. Come back to responsibility for the future! I only work well when in harmony with all other aspects."

4-2.4 The Economic Among Other Aspects

Summary: The full meaning of economics involves the meaningfulness of all other aspects, and externalities need to be brought into the heart of economics.

[===== To be shortened?]

There is more in economic activity even beyond that fuller understanding of the meaning-kernel of the economic aspect: other aspects. Marshall, for example, recognised the importance of (some) other aspects in treating economics as a means to ends, not an end in itself. Why does the customer buy the bread from that baker? It might be because of things like its fragrance, texture, nutritional value, whether the children will eat that bread, and so on. These are reasons not meaningful in the economic aspect, but in other aspects. Even the money given in exchange is not as neutral as supposed: "I'd rather have Fred's money than Joe's" indicates perhaps a difference in trustworthiness. Again, an aspect other than the economic plays its part. We have crossed a line, from what Dooyeweerd called the closed view of the economic aspect to an opened view, in which it is recognised that other aspects contribute to its full meaningfulness.

Example: The CAMELS rating system of the overall condition of banks includes: Capital, Assets, Management Capability, Earnings, Liqudity and Sensitivity (to market risk etc.). Except perhaps for Management, these are all financial indicators, meaningful in the economic and quantitative aspects alone. Their predictivity regarding bank distress seems fairly good, even in the GFC (Global FInancial Crisis of 2008) [Mayes & Stremmel 2014]. We might expect that economic measures will predict well institutions strongly qualified by the economic and quantitative aspects. However, on one hand, "The CAMELS approach is prone to indeterminacy, subjectivity, and inconsistency" [AnalystPrep 2024], which arise from the functioning in various aspects of those who calculate the metrics, notably the pistic, ethical, social and lingual aspects. On the other hand, for full understanding, we must ask "Why?" Why is capital sufficient or not? Why are assets low or high? In what ways is management good or poor? Why are earnings and liquidity (in)sufficient? Why is the bank sensitive to market risk? Then we uncover "off balance sheet" factors [Ayadurai 2018; Olaniyi et al. 2019] and these are meaningful in aspects other than the economic. These are the real determinants of bank soundness, insofar as the amounts of capital etc. that occur are a result of myriad decisions by bank cutomsers, steered by bank policies that arise from decisions by bank management.

Early thinkers - (was it Keynes?) - short-sightedly supposed that, once everyone had 'enough', economic growth would no longer be needed and the economy would become stable, and were surprised when it did not happen. Why did they believe that? Because they developed their theory solely through the lens of the economic aspect, ignoring other aspects? Why did the economy continue to grow in affluent cultures? Subsequent thinkers [refs ===] suggest that people are "addicted to growth", which is usually viewed through the lens of the psychical aspect but is much more pistic and ethical. Maybe more insight comes when we take all aspects into account.

Philosophically, nothing can have meaning in itself. Meaning always refers beyond; that is the very nature of meaning [NC,I, 4]. So the kernel meaning of the economic aspect inherently involves and links with the kernel meanings of other aspects, and we need to take account of those for a full understanding and wise practice. Even uniquely economic notions like frugality, limits, sustainability involve other aspects. They do so in three ways outlines in Chapter 3:

It is because of these inter-aspect relationships that the elements in the earlier definitions are still relevant even though they are meaningful in other aspects.

4-2.5 Externalities

Summary: Externalities may be understood as links to other aspects.

What are referred to as externalities often arise from such inter-aspect relationships. They are effects that cannot be explained by concepts meaningful in the economic aspect alone. For example, the idea of "imperfect competition" involves extra-economic factors that make competition depart from what pure economic theory would predict. Ignoring externalities both undermines the veracity of economic theory and exerts pressure in the wrong direction in economic practice, allowing, excusing and encouraging harmful activities that, by rights, should be discouraged.

Example: The theory that there will always be a liquid market is expressed in purely economic terms, but it has failed so often (the Great Depression, the 1987 collapse, the 2008 collapse, etc.). Economists might explain the failure in terms of the mechanics of economics, such as hedging and computer trading, but why these occur requires explanation from other aspects. What causes failure of such theory is our functioning in other aspects, especially the pistic and ethical aspects (greed, self-interest, idolatry and reliance on false assumptions, etc.; see Mindset and Attitude below).

The idea of externalities is welcome in that it does actually acknowledge other aspects, but it does so anonymously and amorphously. Externalities need to be brought into the heart of both the theory and practice of economics, but to do this requires more precise understanding. Dooyeweerd's aspects and idea of inter-aspect relationships offers that, enabling us to differentiate kinds of externalities and study and talk about them. See 5-5.1 Valuing Externalities.

It may be noticed that the dependency on later and earlier aspects differs; this is discussed in 6-2.3 Inter-aspect Dependencies in Economic Activity.

4-2.6 Embedded Economics

Summary: Economics should not be isolated from other spheres of life but embedded among them, interwoven with them.

So economics should see itself, and should be seen, not as isolated from other spheres but as embedded among them, interwoven or integrated with them, in both theory of practice. Otherwise, theory and practice will impoverish the full meaningfulness of economics. Incorporating other aspects into our theory and practice gives richer understanding and perhaps more useful predictions and plans. The large language models of artificial intelligence might provide a starting point.

Adam Smith took for granted that economics is interwoven with other spheres of life [Norman 2018, 173], even though in his Wealth of Nations he unfortunately withheld discussion of this, setting the course for the isolation of economics.)

In suggesting that the motivation for selling and buying bread must be "self-love" rather than benevolence, Adam Smith seemed to be bringing in another aspect, the ethical aspect, though in dysfunctional form. Does the meaningfulness of economics necessarily include ethical dysfunction? No! Either Smith was wrong or it may be that Smith meant something else by this, as we discuss in 6-4. Some Comments on Adam Smith.

Meaningfulness gives economics a mandate, something to aim towards, something that it should achieve within reality as a whole. We discuss this next.

4-2.7 Micro and Macro Economics (and Meso, Global)

Summary: Micro and macro economics (and other levels) may be understood as having different ranges as meaningful, and hence they may be integrated into one understanding.

Traditionally, macroeconomics and microeconomics are presupposed and taught as two completely different arenas of interest. Microeconomics is interested in the activity like exchanges and how companies behave; macroeconomics is interested in economies as a whole, and things like inflation and other things governments can control, and often resorts to quantitative aggregates to understand them. Yet both function together in real life and thinkers over the past few decades have sought ways to integrate them. Then too some argue that mesoeconomics and global economics cannot be reduced to either micro or macto, mesoeconomics concerning itself with structures and regions, and global economics concerning itself with all economies together and the entire planet. Some argue that meso and global are just species of macroeconomics.

The ongoing debate about all these suggests we need to find some integrating framework. Is there any way of understanding these together, as both the debate and real life demand?

If we ask "Which aspects are most important to each area of study?" we get a picture similar to that shown in Figure f4-2.7.

Aspects important in microeconomics and macroeconomics, and meso and global.  912,1200IG "Work:WWW/cts/economics/./rw/pix/micromacro.iff" -w3.04 -h4 -ra -c

Figure Figure f4-2.7. Aspects important in microeconomics and macroeconomics, and meso and global.

Microeconomics is concerned mainly with the behaviour of individuals and individual companies and others, and thus with the analytical to social aspects, in addition of course to the economic aspect, and also psychical and biotic aspects to some extent. In fact, it must concern itself with all aspects, right up to the pistic and ethical, since individual beliefs and attitudes affect behaviour, but these are not shown.

Macroeconomics concerns itself with 'the whole', and hence finds the post-aesthetic aspects of most importance - especially the juridical - in addition of course to the economic aspect. The relevance of the ethical and pistic aspects is that they define attitudes that pervade society and mindsets that prevail in society, which both impact macroeconomic factors. It overlaps with microeconomics in the economic and perhaps social aspects, and some have suggested that any integration must centre on them, but doing that reduces both and does not do justice to the other aspects that are important.

Mesoeconomics shares some concerns with macroeconomics, but it is also concerned with regions, which makes the spatial aspect important. Regions are not just administrative regions but regions with more-or-less homogenous natural conditions, which makes the physical and biotic aspects important. The concept is still being developed, for example to include sectors of the economy, which would find social, lingual and formative aspects important.

Global economics cannot be reduced to macroeconomics because the latter presupposes an international legal context in which nations' economies operate while global economics transcends that context, and in a way is that context. So, while the ethical and pistic aspects are important for the same reasons, the juridical aspect is seen differently. The economic aspect is also different, in that while macroeconomics finds inter-nation exchanges meaningful, global economics does not much.

Thus we may understand and compare and contrast all these levels of economics by reference to aspects they find important. This provides a way of seeing them all as elements of economics as a whole, and from here on we will treat them in this way. Moreover, an aspectual view opens the way to nuancing what each level finds important, and welcoming yet other levels that, while overlapping with these, might not be reducible to them (one possibility being household economics).

4-3. The Mandate of/for Economics

Summary: What should economics aim to do in the world? Seldom is its mandate discussed. The mandate for economics is to help humanity manage what it deems resources with respect (frugally), so that, as we employ those resources we contribute towards Multi-aspectual Good.

"The economy should be servant, not master"

Question: What should economics do? In which direction should it go? How should it be judged? Those are questions about the mandate for or of economics.

4-3.1 On Mandates

Summary: Mandates point to the future, are normative, and apply to both theory and practice.

(Here we use "mandate" as similar to purpose, except that while purpose can be subjective, local or transient, mandate has connotations of beyond subjective or local or temporary preferences or needs.)

A mandate in an empowerment and a calling. Mandates are therefore normative, a deep kind of 'ought'. Traditionally, however, because of the infamous fact-value dualism, which divorces is from ought, economists have seldom discussed the mandate of economics, being more concerned with the being and processes. Instead, this has resulted in them presupposing a mandate for economics, which remains undeclared and seldom critically discussed.

This oversight has concerned many recent thinkers, however, so a more normative approach is increasingly being called for, such as in the Economics of Higher Purpose [Quinn & Thakor 2019], in Mueller [===], who reached back for Aquinas' ideas of love of neighbour in economics, in Mazzucato's [===] Mission Economy, and others. Normativity is implied by most thinkers, in that they address something they see as problematic. Even Adam Smith himself had written about morals. Arguably, ought is already known at least intuitively in practice because normativity is inherent therein. Often, however, the ought in economics is 'bolted on' to the is, creating a tension. (We are talking not only about to be done in business etc. but about what economics as a whole ought to aim at.

A benefit of using Dooyeweerd's aspects is that each aspect inherently combines is and ought in an inseparable bond; the is is the ought and the ought is the is, because both derive from meaningfulness, of which aspects are modalities.

The mandate for a sphere of life, therefore, is the calling and empowerment and norm to fulfil the meaningfulness of the aspect that qualifies it, over time. That is the what we mean by the mandate of/for economics.

Therefore, mandates point towards the future: how we should open up possibilities. So mandate implies responsibility for our actions that will generate that future, and accountability when looking back to the past. Economics, as a sphere of human activity, a sector of society and a body of knowledge and literature, thus has responsibility for the future that every economist should be careful about and for which they can be held accountable, looking back. And, in many cases, are, and will be even more. Now we know about the heinousness of climate change and biodiversity loss, economists today (and accountants, bankers and investors) have no excuse for omitting these from their theories and practice.

Mandates pervade all we do. The mandate applies to both practice and theory of economics, in which the theory expresses our best understanding of how economics operates to make such a contribution in practice [Note: Understanding]. The mandate both guides, and provides a basic foundation for evaluating, both practice and theory. In the practice of economics, the rules which we follow should point and channel us always towards contributing to, and never reducing, Multi-aspectual Overall Good; such a seeming restriction actually stimulates new ideas (as many restrictions do). All theory-making (academic research) has the responsibility of constructing theories that include reference to Multi-aspectual Good, and not just the narrow interests of economics itself and, since the shape and content of theories steers practice towards either Good or Harm, all theories should express the mandate. In both theory and practice, following a mandate is useful in opening up fresh avenues of doing, thinking and research because the mandate motivates us to look for them and humans are excellent at finding them (innovation).

Many people with religious or ideological commitments warm to the idea of mandate because their belief includes the idea of mandate or 'ought' by reference to the authority of what they considered ultimate importance, or Divine (in Clouser's [2005] sense). In Christianity and perhaps Judaism, the mandate for economics is tied closely to the nature and structure of Creation, and the possibilities this opens up, and for which humans have responsibility.

4-3.2 The Mandate Specific to Economics

Summary: The mandate for economics is to help humanity manage what it deems resources with respect (frugally), that are employed to better contribute towards Multi-aspectual Overall Good, without harm or waste.

(The ideas here are still being developed and so discussion is welcomed.)

To speak of a mandate for economics is unusual, and a google search "What is the mandate of economics?" yields very little. "What is the aim of economics" yields more.

Some examples: To [Samuelson & Nordhaus 1998], the theoretical aim may be "to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday lives," which seems not unlike our idea of Multi-aspectual Good and emphasis on everyday experience, except that (a) it ignores the non-human, (b) it tends to presuppose the affluent lifestyle of the Global North, (c) it makes the macro serve the micro, (d) it soon gets lost in a jungle of mathematics, money, competition, jobs and finance, because "living conditions" is defined in solely economic terms. The US Federal Reserve has a "dual mandate" of "maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates" but (a) it makes the micro serve the macro, (b) it is narrowly focused on financial issues, (c) multiple mandates often conflict and thus so much attention is given to balancing them that other important issues are ignored. Among many who use economics, such as politicians and governments, the undeclared mandate of economics is often to keep growing the economy - in which (a) the micro is sacrificed on the altar of the macro, and (b) other spheres of life are presumed there to merely serve their economy.

We seek to understand the mandate of/for economics (and the economy) more broadly, in a way that is relevant across all cultures, that takes all other spheres of interest into account equally (especially the planet) and applies across all levels.

To accomplish this, we start from the stance that economics should contribute to Multi-aspectual Overall Good and not Harm, which includes more than people but all Creation (and especially, these days, the environment and climate). That is a general mandate for all spheres of life; the mandate of/for economics is the specific kind of contribution it can make in conjunction with all others to this end. The mandate specific to economics is centred on the economic aspect but embraces all others; it is led by the economic while fully respecting the different mandates of all others.

The specific mandate of a sphere derives from the meaningfulness of the aspect that makes the sphere meaningful and beneficial. Therefore, the mandate of/for economics is to enable humanity to manage the value of what it deems resources, with respect for those resources (i.e. frugally), so that doing so contributes to Multi-aspectual Overall Good in a way that does no Harm.

This involves taking all aspects into account - their kinds of value (Chapter 5), functioning and repercussions meaningful in each (Chapter 6), how each defines Good and Evil (Chapter 7) amd the role of entities (Chapter 8).

4-3.3 The Role of Other Aspects in the Mandate of/for Economics

Summary: Other aspects are important in the mandate of/for economics in both the responsibility of economics and in supporting economics.

As we discuss below, all aspects or spheres of life make different contributions to Multi-aspectual Overall Good and, by and large, the contribution of one cannot be made by others, so, if the contribution of any aspect is missing, then Multi-aspectual Good is depleted. If we do not act frugally, much is wasted, especially in business, and opportunities are lost.

The other aspects are important in the mandate for economics in two ways. The first points 'outward' from economics, in its responsibility to help all other spheres of life better contribute to the kind of Good they can achieve. For example, banks should be judged not only on their financial soundness but also on how they help their customers (and others) to use money wisely and for Good, not Harm; see below. The second points 'inward' to the aspects that support the 'mechanics' of the economic aspect. For example, for the working of money, the social aspect (agreeing) is impoortant, along with just exchange (juridical), signifying a value (lingual), and harmonising of different kinds of value (the aesthetic aspect), in addition to the economic aspect (resources). Notice however, that none of these exhaust the full meaningfulness and mandate of those other aspects; they are not the slaves of economics. Each type of economic entity, such as found in Chapter 8, will find the other aspects relevant in different ways.

We do find echoes of our view of the mandate of economics in both the classic and recent authors. For example, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, is redolent with normative force, in for instance "abundance or scantiness", "miserably poor", "reduced, to the necessity sometimes of directly destroying, and sometimes of abandoning their infants, their old people, and those afflicted with lingering diseases, to perish with hunger, or to be devoured by wild beasts", and so on. He assumes that economics should be guided by such norms and presupposes intuitive agreement on this among his readers. Though not using the word "mandate", he assumes a mandate for economics, which is expressed in the first sentence as supplying "all the necessaries and conveniences of life". As we do, he links the mandate to life, not just money or productivity, though his is a limited form of ours. Doughnut Economics mandates that the Economy should keep above the social floor and below the ecological ceiling, and Mark Carney explicitly discusses Value(s)). Doughnut's Multi-aspectual Good involves the social and ecological; Carney's involves several kinds of value - though neither reaches the breadth of Dooyeweerd's aspectual normativity.

Though we find normativity in most such discussionss, the mandate proposed here contrasts with many others, in that it is geared explicitly, not just implicitly, towards Multi-aspectual Overall Good, which pervades all our discussions here.

4-3.4 Sub-mandates for Each Entity in Economics

Summary: What is the mandate of national economies, economics science, money, banks, etc.?

Within the mandate for economics as a whole, are more specific mandates for various economic actors or activities:, which may be provisionally and approximately as follows:

Since the household is led by a different aspect, and has a mandate in that aspect, we specify the economic mandate; with the others this is assumed. We may notice that several aspects are important in many of those above such as the social, lingual and juridical for the working of money, as above (see also Chapter 8's more complete discussion of the aspects of money).

The mandate, or purpose, of business - what business as a whole is for and which all businesses should follow - has traditionally been:

"the purpose of business is business" (Friedmann, not very helpful, as discussed earlier),
"to increase owner value" and
"to make and keep customers"?

They all fail, for several reasons. They all smuggle in meaningfulness from other aspects, without making it explicit, the first all aspects, the second the juridical and the third the social and formative aspects; without these, each is tautological nonsense. They are all self-serving, dysfunctional in the ethical aspect and thus ultimately doomed to mislead. (These are in addition to criticisms from 'left-wing' economics and do not depend on a left-wing.) More recent thought seems a little more enlightened, in adding the more general "to create value" and references to "wider good" [from a Google search]. However, many give little guidance on kinds of value, such as the value of climate, of ecological quality, landscape quality, of faith and dignity, of generosity, and of household activity, which have traditionally been ignored. Some, such as Doughnut Economics do itemise some kinds of value, but only as measures and norms, and not woven explicitly into the fabric of business.

We offer a basis for discussing the kinds of value business creates and should create, which are discussed in Chapter 5.

4-3.5 Economic Growth

Summary: Adherence to economic growth has caused much harm to humans and planet alike, but also some good. It is not bad in itself but has become an evil because of selfish attitude and idolatrous mindset. Rather than discussing whether economic growth is good o bad, or how much growth to allow, we suggest several principles by which we may understand and manage it.

Discussed more fully in page on Economic Growth.

The Problem:

Our Approach:

4-4. Our Mindset Towards Economics

Summary: Sadly, economics is often isolated from other spheres of life, both in its theories and its practice, and by both many economists and also by those who use economics. This is society's mindset towards economics; it tends towards reductionism and idolatry, but needs to change to embeddedness.

Karl Polanyi [1944,2001] argued that though economics is in fact embedded within society, it had become "dis-embedded" such that it dominates all other societal spheres, and seldom takes them into account; his observation still holds.

Economics, in all its manifestations in theory and practice, has become unduly elevated in importance, especially in the mindset of those who 'use' economics - including politicians, who make the Treasury the most important department in government with authority over all aothers [Collier 2024], business people, who judge themselves too much on what they contribute to share price or 'bottom line', and many media pundits, who criticise or applaud things on how much they cost or bring as income, rather than on real qualities. Yet we see very few economists resisting the adulation their field is enjoying. Add to this the belief that prevails of the validity of selfishness in economics, and we are in a very harmful state of affairs.

This is a problem of mindset, rather than just theory or behaviour. Norman [2018, 188-9] suggests three elements of our mindset towards economics, which are "not closely connected to its intrinsic merits":

"The first is that it is often presented as an autonomous realm of public wisdom and social choice. ... The second is that economics itself is often seen as a putative theory of everything. ... bolstered by a third factor: its forbidding technical demands. ... highly inaccessible to the non-specialist. ... The overall effect of these three features has been to build in a certain presumption in favour of economics over other disciplines."

These are some elements of mindset; there are more. But what is mindset?

4-4.1 Mindsets

Summary: Mindsets are our functioning in the pistic aspect, as both individuals and societies. They range from valid and good to idolatrous, destructive. They deeply affect both theory and practice.

Mindset is what we believe, assume, expect, presuppose, aspire to and commit to about economics and how it relates to the rest of life and reality. Astute readers will notice that those are precisely our functioning in the pistic aspect. Throughout this Rethink, we will use "mindset" as referring to our functioning in the pistic aspect. It is often coupled with our functioning in the ethical aspect, which we call "attitude". Mindset (pistic functioning) is held by both societies and individuals, with each affecting the other. As we will discuss in more detail in Chapter 6, both of these deeply and powerfully influence our functioning in all other aspects, usually unseen - so they are more important than most presume . Here we restrict our discussion to our mindset towards economics.

Example: In the UK for the past few years (to 2023) Avian Flu has decimated many species and populations of wild birds and also has infected 'kept' birds like poultry on farms. The mindset of the poultry industry and government is solely that wild birds are 'problem' that threatens the economics of the poultry industry, and the (self-centred) attitude is to protect the industry alone. That wild birds are fellow victim with the kept birds, which humans have a duty to help, is not recognised by them (except occasionally as an add-on). It, is recognised, however, by the nature charities.

Mindset forms a spectrum from valid and good, through problematic to destructive, shown in Figure f4-4.1, manifested slightly differently in theory-making (below the line) and practice (above the line).

The spectrum of reductionism 1504,300IG "pix/f4-reductionism.iff" -w5.01 -h1 -c -ra

Figure f4-4.1 The spectrum of elevation of economics.

In real, everyday life, economics is completely embedded among other spheres of life, interwoven and integrated with them; we operate holistically. Sometimes we give attention to the economic aspect. In economic science we focus on what is meaningful in the economic aspect and, in good science, accounting for links with other aspects. (Refer back to our perspective on pre-theoretical and theoretical thinking.)

Problems begin when we unduly elevate economics. Economics isolates ("dis-embeds") itself from other spheres. We are not talking about what are called isolated economies, in which an economy has few links with other economies, but about the very field or sphere of life that is economics, when we completely ignore other spheres. In science, we take a reductionist view, which ignores all other aspects. The end is idolatry of economics in life and absolutization of it economic science, in both of which all else is sacrificed to and for economics and is presupposed to have no other meaning than to serve economics. All these along the spectrum are unhealthy both for the world and for economics itself, infiltrating both its theory and practice. At the extreme end, when we treat something as the origin of all meaningfulness, it becomes meaningless and, refusing its mandate, does much Harm.

We now look at some of them in more depth. [Some of the following could be shortened? =====]

4-4.2 Valid Focus: The Science and Discipline of Economics

Summary: In good science and discipline of economics, we focus on the econommic aspect in relation to others.

As explained in Chapter 3, the science of economics involves focusing on what is meaningful in the economic aspect and formulating generic knowledge (theories) of the laws of economics. Economics as a discipline additionally brings in general rules (theories of how one should behave). For both theories and rules, we take a stance in our thinking: that of focus on what is meaningful in the economic aspect.

Theory-making is a Good human venture - even though, as Dooyeweerd and others have argued, that this is never a neutral pursuit of 'pure facts' or 'pure rationality'. It always and inescapably involves 'religious' presuppositions about what is meaningful - whether in data collection, paradigms or ground-motives.

Good science and disciplinary practice involve explicitly taking other aspects into account alongside the economic. The inclusion of "externalities" in economic theory is a step towards that, and another step can be taken by using Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects to differentiate kinds of externalities and treat them as they deserve. An example of doing this is when we reformulate GDP in Chapter 7.

However, when other aspects are deemed less important, we move along the spectrum, to elevating, isolating and idolising economics.

4-4.3 Undue Elevation of Economics

Summary: Economics has been elevated above other spheres of life, especially by those who use it. This is unhealthy and needs to be rectified.

We can see undue elevation of economics in the following examples in practice:

and in economic theory:

Much of what is wrong in economics is not so much the theories and behaviours as such, as the mindset in which society over-elevates economics, which influences all we think, say and do.

To be fair, sometimes other spheres of life, other aspects, do have some recognition. For example, though elevating the Treasury, politicians do recognise other spheres as important, such as arms and defence, legal systems, social care, technology, environment, etc. But to allocate resources for these is an uphill struggle, and how much is allotted to each depends not so much on their real importance but on such factors as how strong lobbies are in influencing the ruling politicians, and the strength of lobbies depends largely on how much money is put into them.

But when economic considerations are elevated unduly, we enter the realm of reductionism in scholarship and to idolatry of economics as a whole in life.

4-4.4 Reductionism

Summary: Reductionism is when one aspect is presupposed as able to account for all else, and all other kinds of value are reduced to it.

Since life involves all aspects, the perfect theory that can explain what occurs will include all aspects explicitly, even when it focuses on one aspect, such as the economic. Likewise the perfect rule to guide life. Reductionism is a form of undue elevation that occurs in analytical thinking in science and professional life.

In reductionism, one aspect of the diverse complexity of reality is deemed the only one important, is presupposed as able to explain all others, and/or is when the kinds of value offered by others are reduced to that of this aspect. Not only are the other aspects ignored but the ignoring becomes self-justifying. Examples of reductionism in economics include:

The argument, ceteris paribus "all other things being equal", so prevalent in economics theory, is a reductionistic assumption, false because other things are usually not equal when we think about the aspects that make them meaningful.

Friedrich Hayek exhibits a particularly pernicious kind of reductionism. Though his advocacy of unfettered market might suggest reduction to the economic aspect, he actually reduces this to the biotic aspect: dominance of society by a free market is justified because it enables more mouths to be fed, more humans to survive and "Life has no purpose but itself" [Hayek 1988, 132]. How degrading!

We find unfortunate reductionism throughout Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, even though we know he also acknowledged the interwovenness of economics among other aspects. In this book he hardly mentions morals (which he had written about earlier), and we see him proposing that several societal ills can be overcome purely by free operation of markets. It is shown by episodes in his life, such as that he was "vehemently hostile" to the sensible proposal that physicians should only graduate if they had had experience, because he saw it as "restraint on trade" [Norman 2018, 88].

Reductionism is harmful in both theory and practice. Its impact on theory is to obliterate factors that are important in other aspects, so theories fail when faced with the multi-aspectual complexity if reality. (Some theories include other aspects as anonymous externalities: not quite reductionism but undue elevation.) Reductionism's impact on practice is seen in dismissive attitudes, blind to other important factors during evaluation, decision-making, communication or policy-naking, so that we often must then expend enormous resources of human effort, time and money, on bringing these in later, when the harm becomes apparent. Much conventional economics of both left and right has been reductionist until recently, ignoring the environment and other human aspects, or at least assuming that problems therein can be solved by purely economic means. Do not the diverse challenges of pandemic, war and climate / biodiversity crises show this reductionism to be false?

The opposite of reductionism is holism. It was a concern of early systems thinkers. Boulding [1966], for example, argued against a narrow focus on profit and production for the more holistic Circular Economy, in which waste is recycled back as useful products, so non-renewable resources are less depleted. This was only a small step away from reductionism, however, since it was couched largely in concepts meaningful in the economic aspect, like resources, rather than in terms of for example justice or biodiversity.

Recent thinkers have taken a more holistic approach, taking into account justice (e.g. Hartropp) and environmental issues (e.g. Dasgupta [2020]), and these together (e.g. Laurent). Yet even these ideas are tainted with reductionism. Dasgupta tries to reduce biodiversity to a quantitative measure of value amd Laurent defines "justice" in terms of quantitative-economic measures. Raworth and Carney may be more holistic in the range of factors she considers. But most recent thinkers seldom give due regard to the aesthetic aspect, and largely ignore the aspects of mindset-attitude (pistic, ethical). Islamic finance recognises some of the pistic aspect, but mainly seeks mechanisms to fit within Qur'anic teaching, rather than fully considering the relevance of all pistic functioning in economic activity.

Dooyeweerd speaks of "absolutization", in which we treat an aspect as self-dependent and on which all other aspects depend, and as being its own source of meaning, and the main norm for living. Referring to the example of Hume's absolutization of the psychical aspect [NC, II, 331-2], he argues that absolutization contains a "fundamental error" and ultimately "destroys itself if it is consistently thought out." (Even so, because every aspect contains echoes of all the others inside itself ("sphere universality"), absolutization can seem to 'work' to some extent and may contain a "kernel of truth".)

4-4.5 Idolatry

Summary: Idolatry treats the favoured thing, aspect or sphere of life as 'divine', with absolute authority over us. Economics is often an idol.

"You cannot serve God and Mammon" - Jesus Christ [Matthew 6:24]

"Mammon" derives, via Greek and Latin, from the Aramaic, and maybe the Hebrew mi hamon, meaning "from accumulation" [Petrizello 2019]. Though often translated "wealth" or "money", it seems to connote not just those but the mindset that makes this the most important thing in life. Mammon is not wealth as such, but a mindset that makes money the most important thing in life - exemplified in adherence by politicians and media in affluent cultures to economic growth. When made of ultimate importance (as important as God) it is an idol.

But what is idolatry? Why is it harmful? Idolatry is when one thing or one aspect becomes so elevated as to have absolute priority over other things (x including, Christians, Jews and Muslims believe, the True God x). Much economic practice tends to idolise wealth in its various forms and much economic theory tends, unwittingly perhaps, to idolise the economic aspect.

Beside Mammon, many things can be idols. This occurs as both individual and communal-societal levels -

In Bob Goudzwaard's [1984] perceptive essay, economics, or rather economic growth, is one of four Idols of Our Times, alongside technology, national security and revolution (at the societal level). That our opponent might worship one of these idols does not excuse us from worshipping ours; all are destructive.

By analogy with pagan objects of worship, Goudzwaard offers an understanding of how idolatry operates for anything - an idea, cause, or even an aspect:

"Suppose we consider the worship of a wood, stone or porcelain image, a practice still common in the world today. This worship has several steps. First, people sever something from their immediate environment, refashion it and erect it on its own feet in a special place. Second, they ritually consecrate it and kneel before it, seeing it as a thing which has life in itself. Third, they bring sacrifices and look to the idol for advice and direction. In short, they worship it. Worship brings with it a decrease in their own power; now the god reveals how they should live and act. And fourth, they expect the god to repay their reverence, obedience and sacrifices with health, security, prosperity and happiness. They give the idol permission to demand and receive whatever it desires, even if it includes animal or human life, because they see the idol as their savior, as the one who can make life whole and bring blessing."

Each of those stages may be understood metaphorically, as Krishnan-Harihara & Basden [2009; 2010] have argued in a study of e-government, so that idolatry is a useful lens through which we can understand how and why things have gone wrong (in economics):

Idolatry of economics is deeply engrained in society, and this can explains why economic activity as practised today has contributed (even if indirectly) so much Harm in ill-health, environmental damage, injustice.

Example: UK horticulture. In many parts of the world, people eat whatever fruit and vegetables are in season - and many of our best recipes have come from accepting the seeming limitations this brings creatively. But in Britain, supermarket culture has destroyed this. Their laser-like focus on keeping food prices down has diminished the range of fruit and vegetables they offer, and what they offer is less healthy and nutritious. Food is treated as a mere commodity to sell, rather than something to keep us alive and delight in. Farms are strangled - and farming is one of the top sectors for suicides - and farmers do not cooperate as they do in the EU. The British public as a whole just accepts it. Because of idolatry of economics. [BBC Radio 4, Today, 08:20 on 23 March 2023]

Understanding idolatry can explain why many governments refuse to take climate and environmental responsibility seriously. As Goudzwaard suggests, the four idols of economic prosperity, technology, national security, and revolution all reinforce each other, and together they bully us towards unconcern in the mindset, and mere lip service in policy.

Given that idolatry is not merely a neutral option, but is seriously destructive, such an understanding as offered here can help us reveal the root of many problems. For example, idolatry can explain why, contrary to reason and especially Keynes' expectation, we in affluent countries make economic growth so important that, even though it is no longer necessary for us, at the national level, it has become the mandate of/for economics, so that all national life serves it. Here we have investigated idolatry of economics; in Chapter 6 we discuss how idolatry of anything lies at the root of much Harm that economic activity does.

4-5. Towards Embedded, Meaningful and Good Economics

Summary: To overcome problems in economics we need to explicitly recognise multi-aspectual meaning, a mandate towards Good and abandon a mindsets that elevate, isolate or idolise economics, by recognising every aspect explicitly in both practice and tneory.

Yet it need not be so. Economic activity can indeed bring blessing, but only when the multi-aspectual Meaning of economics is rightly understood and the Mandate of contributing towards Multi-aspectual Overall Good is committed to, abandoning an idolatrous Mindset. Most of the items in Goudzwaard's steps above have a valid version [Krishnan-Harihara & Basden 2010], for example instead of severing we can focus. These are all towards the left-hand end of the spectrum in Figure r4-4.1.

Even if our mindset is not idolatrous or reductionist, we still need to bring into all economics theories, rules and practice the complete range of aspects. Economics science would try to understand, not only the laws of the economic aspect itself, but how these function in relation to those of other aspects and the resultant theories would explicitly include factors meaningful in other aspects, enriching the notion of externalities. This would be a major investment.

With the idea of multi-aspectual Meaningfulness, we can begin to understand how economics is interwoven with, embedded among, other spheres and be guided on how to actualize this. In economics practice, this would help evaluation of and planning for the real experience of economic life, because every thing we do and are affects, and is affected by, our economic life.

In our mindset towards economics, both among economists and those who use economics, there should be humility rather than arrogance or isolation.

Example: Economics theory embracing an understanding of the workings of the pistic and ethical aspects, i.e. mindset and attitude, would transform, for example, the Tragedy of the Commons and even Adam Smith's understanding of economic transactions, replacing "self-love" by contributing towards Multi-aspectual Good, as discussed above in Meaning and Mandate.

That is the ideal. But how do we overcome the combined might of several mutually-reinforcing idols that together prevent this happening? This is a pistic problem, and requires a pistic solution. In Chapters 6 and 7 we discuss how mindset and attitude operate for good or ill, in a hidden way, and how undue elevation, isolation, reductionism and idolatry may be overcome. Briefly, as also discussed in Chapter 3, it requires good multi-aspectual law and turning away from wrong mindset (x and, Christians believe, the work of the Spirit of God x).

The economic sphere relates to other spheres in several ways, discussed in the next three chapters. Economic value should express value that is meaningful in other spheres [Carney], discussed in Chapter 5. The functioning of economics affects and is affected by functioning in other spheres [e.g. Kahnemann], discussed in Chapter 6. Economic activity generates good and harm in other spheres ("externalities"), and they in it, discussed in Chapter 7. Since each sphere is meaningful in certain aspects, all these considerations will be seen in terms of aspects.


Created from Section 4 of xnr2, 2 January 2023. Last updated: 2 January 2023 changed title. 4 January 2023 intro bit. 6 January 2023 bits from r7-ghu. 17 January 2023 Economists understand utility as the main aim of economics. 21 January 2023 ecgr. 23 January 2023 eg of non-embedded. 23 January 2023 asps earlier, later. 25 January 2023 already many recgs need for embeddedness. 26 January 2023 4-1 what is econ. 27 January 2023 Quaker capitalism. 28 January 2023 greed. 30 January 2023 wds 4 att. 1 February 2023 Speth. 3 February 2023 changed name from r4-att to r4-mmm; Multi-aspectual Good explicit. 6 February 2023 scraps. 10 February 2023 prosperity as OG through economics lens. 16 February 2023 4-. 25 February 2023 comedy. 2 March 2023 summary. 10 March 2023 idolatry shapes. 27 March 2023 a summary. 5 April 2023 ess and resource. 7 April 2023 moved Multi-aspectual Good to r3-dyx. 10 April 2023 big edit of Meaning of Economics, began mandate. 11 April 2023 Mandate; mindset-attitude. 12 April 2023 reductionism; rest of mandate. 13 April 2023 many tidying ups; economic growth rw; tidies; headings and summaries - uploaded. 15 April 2023 elevation, redsm, idolatry steps. Clearer on kernel of econ. 17 April 2023 isolation / elevation a separate section; edits. 19 April 2023 dealt with =====. 24 April 2023 Avian flu; heart; EG as idol. 28 April 2023 embedded earlier. 4 May 2023 attd of scientists. 5 May 2023 mammon. 10 May 2023 "draft". 12 May 2023 better on frugality; mindset; hdgs. 15 May 2023 rlg expertise on repentance. 16 May 2023 uploaded as r4-mmm-230516.html. Then rw Meaning. 18 May 2023 aspectual view of factors. 20 May 2023 respect objects clearer; responsibility for future. 26 May 2023 Meaning roots; Norway; summaries with qns; vote with . 30 May 2023 ign exts cos m-a. 31 May 2023 3 idols. 5 June 2023 new ch smy. 6 June 2023 leaven. 12 June 2023 Moving much of mindset-attitude to r6-fun. 14 June 2023 Intro re isolation, embeddedness; edit mindset, moving stuff to r6-fun, and total rw of mindset section to be only about mindset towards ecx. 16 June 2023 corrns. 20 June 2023 "imperfect comp". 27 June 2023 econ growth rw. 28 June 2023 Smith. 29 June 2023 rw meaning. 30 June 2023 done Meaning; rid identity. 21 July 2023 Norman on Smith. 25 July 2023 Mindset that Ecx Good. 8 August 2023 more on growth. 9 August 2023 interwoven r.t. embedded. 22 September 2023 correct link. 16 October 2023 quote. 25 October 2023 equilibrium ecx, and links. 30 October 2023 idols. 8 November 2023 humility. 9 November 2023 4-1 smy better; word 'econ' to n.html. 22 November 2023 Elevn-Isoln. 30 November 2023 Bz is Bz = kernel. 5 December 2023 2 purposes of business. 28 December 2023 embeddedness. 3 January 2024 Hayek. 25 January 2024 Marshall "ends" as embed yet undefined. 27 January 2024 marshall defn. 30 January 2024 saving-frugality. 3 February 2024 goods,svcs eth asp. 9 February 2024 MAOG. 26 February 2024 Mandate for bz. 18 March 2024 table of resources; rw value, respect of objects. 22 March 2024 econ servant not master. 5 April 2024 not entirely elevated. 22 April 2024 corr link. 8 May 2024 CAMELS. 13 May 2024 rw s-gdec. 17 May 2024 growth rw. 18 May 2024 horticulture strangled. 31 May 2024 began major rw; carved out econ.growth and replaced with summary. 1 June 2024 edited 4.1, 4.2.0. 4 June 2024 a,b. 4-2.1. c. material goes to econ.aspect.html. 5 June 2024 continue edit; CAMELS. 8 June 2024 Mandate edited. 10 June 2024 macromicro section; a bit rw of econ growth; new intro about what MMM can do, isolation to Mindset. 11 June 2024 (a) mindset ed. 12 June 2024 (a) idolatry. (b) 4-5 Towards as Concl. (c) ed various and got headings right. 13 June 2024 hdgs, summaries. 14 June 2024 rw intro; some ===; links; uploaded, pdf.