Lyndon LaRouche presents his ninth economic forecast in August of 1994, after a recapitulation of the first eight successful forecasts.
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. enjoys the privilege of being the planet's most proficient economic forecaster of the past 60 years. Though these forecasts are relatively few in number, with nine distinct but related forecasts which he made over the span from the 1950s to the 1990s, plus several crucial forecasts made since, LaRouche's unique success lies in his scientific method which differs dramatically from his rivals. This distinction lies in LaRouche's concept of the nature of mankind in the Universe as a force of good, of development, and of progress.
But, as an even cursory reading of Mr. LaRouche’s many reports and papers will show, his forecasts are not and never were “soothsayings” or doomsday end-of-the-world prophecies. There is always a policy proposal, a suggested change in general trends of behavior; that is, something that sovereign governments and mankind, in general, can choose to do to avert the crisis otherwise forecast to be inevitable. In short, LaRouche’s “forecasts” always contain:
Lyndon LaRouche's physical economics proves that there are no inherent limits to human growth, only those artificially imposed upon society by the oligarchical principle.
1) an actual forecast of what will happen were there no change in direction of policy; and,
2) a solution in the form of a policy/science driver initiative. (For instance: given an obvious trend of increasing unemployment, what must be done to reverse it and create real jobs?)
But, how did Mr. LaRouche become the world’s most successful forecaster over the past 5-6 decades? And, since none of his solutions/policies have been implemented in full (at least not in our country on the scale necessary), how can we be certain that they will work? As is seen in his record of economic forecasts, he has never been wrong about the crisis. Is that proof enough that we should adopt his solutions?
Yet two more questions arise. Namely, how does mankind, being absolutely distinguished from animals, develop? And, what is the nature of that development, i.e., what is discovery?
...A new riddle has risen before us. Thought is not a form of energy. How then can it change material processes?
Some Words on the Noosphere (1946)
— Lyndon LaRouche
LaRouche in Dialogue with Russian Science (1994)
Lyndon LaRouche traveled numerous times to Moscow during the 1990s to meet with leading members of the Russian intelligentsia, who studied with keen interest his physical economic discoveries.
How does Mankind produce more than he consumes? How do we sustain a growing population at higher living standards? How and why does Man create things which did not previously exist?
These are not idle questions; these are among the key questions which define man. What LaRouche did was to create a new practicable science around the answers to these questions, and in doing so he has created not only a new approach to the study of economics, but an indispensable pathway for mankind out of the immediate world crisis. This new pathway is being adopted as policy right now by the BRICS+ alliance of nations, in many of its characteristics.
This force does not seem to be a new manifestation or special form of energy, nor yet a pure and simple expression of known energy. But it exerts a profound and powerful influence on the course of energetic phenomena on the Earth’s surface, and consequently has repercussions, smaller but undeniable, beyond the surface, on the existence of the planet itself. This force is human reason, the directed and controlled will of social man.
— Vladimir Vernadsky
"Human Autotrophy" (1925)
As a young adolescent LaRouche began to define his conception of mankind and truth based mostly on the writings and philosophy of the Socratic/Platonic school of thought which emphasized original discovery of ideas and an inherent knowledge-potential of all human beings. This school of thought also emphasized a concept familiar to the monotheistic religions; that of individual Man made in the image of the Creator of the Universe.
Detail from Raphael Sanzio's School of Athens, depicting Plato and Artistotle as the founders of two mutually opposed schools of philosophical thought.
This is in direct disagreement with a central idea developed by the Aristotelian school, specifically from Aristotle’s work De Anima (On the Soul), that the human individual is born as a tabula rasa, i.e. a blank wax tablet. To Aristotle, individuals gain knowledge by receiving imprints on this blank slate through the actions of sense perception. This outlook affords absolutely no functional distinction between the capacity of Man and that of beasts. As a further distinction, in LaRouche’s outlook, the Platonic school placed a primary focus on the power of the human mind to cause change whereas the Aristotelian school professed a slave-like reliance on perceptions gained only through the senses. LaRouche, at a very young age, developed a healthy non-conformity to this Satanic outlook.
During LaRouche’s formative studies, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz became the exemplification of his outlook on the world, against Immanuel Kant, defining what would subsequently become several clashes with and victories over the Aristotelian/Scholastic school, later known as Empiricism or Reductionism.
A crucial inflection point for this young thinker was his secondary school introduction to, and profound disagreement with, Euclidean geometry.
Therefore, a competent geometry must be a physical geometry, which must be defined so, without any Euclidean or other Sophist's a-prioristic mumbo-jumbo added. It must be defined, by experimental modes of setting of physical standards of construction and experiment. As part of my own personal revolt against the relevant academic sophistry which I encountered at that time, I filled up several notebooks with excerpts from, and notes on my study of those works of Gottfried Leibniz available to me from both my family household's bookshelves and the Lynn, Massachusetts Public Library, as part of my escape from the Sophistry of Euclid and his like.
— Lyndon LaRouche, What Is The Human Mind?
This distinction—between mathematical/formal thinking and actual physical science—became the central theme in all of LaRouche’s future endeavors and achievements.
LaRouche also identifies a qualitatively similar distinction between Man and Animal. Man is that creature which, through the use of physical science, discovery, and thought alters its relationship to the surrounding environment or the Universe generally. Animals do not, and, more importantly, can not.
In the mid 1940s, after returning from service in Burma and India during WWII, LaRouche involved himself in management consulting in New York City and subsequently became an executive of a consulting firm. As a developing business and economic trend forecaster in his field he came across choice works of Professors Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics, and John Von Neumann, The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. LaRouche describes Wiener’s work as follows:
— Lyndon LaRouche, LaRouche in Dialogue with Russian Science (1994)
LaRouche had a principled disagreement with this outlook in that it placed an explicitly mathematical/logical system as bounding human communication. If the language of communication is itself fixed, and new terms must be made in terms of existing ones, then how can a truly new concept ever be created or stated?
LaRouche also took up a deep disagreement with Prof. John Von Neumann’s economic outlook, expressed most explicitly in his major work already referenced. In it Von Neumann states:
"The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior" published in 1944 by Professor John von Neumann of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“We wish to concentrate on one problem—which is not that of the measurement of utilities and of preferences—and we shall therefore attempt to simplify all other characteristics as far as reasonably possible. We shall therefore assume that the aim of all participants in the economic system, consumers as well as entrepreneurs, is money, or equivalently a single monetary commodity. This is supposed to be unrestrictedly divisible and substitutable, freely transferable and identical, even in the quantitative sense, with whatever ‘satisfaction’ or ‘utility’ is desired by each participant.”
— Von Neumann, "Theory of Games and Economic Behavior"
These two cases, in LaRouche’s view, were simply emblematic of a larger problem, a degenerating trend in the immediate post-war world whose effect was to envision Mankind as a species not different than the beasts.
“I became so angry that I devoted myself to refuting these two swindlers.”
Dialogue with the Intelligentsia of Russia (1993)
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), to whom Lyndon LaRouche credits the most important intellectual experience of his youth, developed the original science of physical economics which largely laid the basis for the American Revolution.
It is very important to understand that the anger LaRouche felt was incited not by an academic disagreement, but his sense of individual responsibility for Mankind’s future as a whole; his “love for Mankind.” While von Neumann believed that economics was a zero-sum game, in which one man’s gain was another’s loss, LaRouche knew that the characteristic of the human species was overall improvement and development. He was also drawing from his already referenced Platonic-Leibnizian outlook that “Man is made in the image of God.” Wiener’s and Von Neumann’s concepts, which were gaining hegemony, ran directly contrary to not only LaRouche’s outlook, but the entirety of the revolutionary philosophical outlook represented by the success of our American Revolution against the bestiality exercised by the British Imperial System.
The outlook expressed by Profs. Wiener and Von Neumann was not the regrettable result of a mis-directed academic argument. It was more sinister. Accepting in any form that Mankind is bounded by a completed, formal set of mathematical axioms, with the result that mankind's essential characteristic is in no way different than the beasts, has led to the worst and most oppressive political systems ever to exist.
Therefore, LaRouche had to present a full and rigorous proof of what economic science actually is, namely, man’s ability to discover the physical laws of the universe and assimilate them into society by applying them as technological progress. Such an ability distinguishes man absolutely from animals.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.— Genesis 1:28
Textbook on the fundamentals of physical economics, So, You Wish To Learn All About Economics?, published by Lyndon LaRouche in 1984.
Several presentations have been given by LaRouche on aspects of his unique discovery. LaRouche’s economics textbook, So, You Wish To Learn All About Economics?, published in 1984, remains indispensable for understanding how LaRouche thinks about economics and why his method is correct.
This “economics” textbook is a rigorous refutation of the “dismal science” approach to economics (which comes from purely mathematical, and sometimes quite explicitly imperial treatments of the subject). It, instead, affirms that physical economics is the tool by which mankind continually progresses in and exerts control over our universe. And thus “physical economics” becomes, perhaps, the most important practice of the human species.
The first measurement of the degree of fruitfulness of a nation such as the United States is by the term Potential Relative Population Density.— Lyndon LaRouche, The Power of Labor
Pedagogical video series on LaRouche's economics textbook, So You Wish To Learn All About Economics, presented by Jason Ross, of the LPAC Science Team. Full series Playlist
Defining this term, Potential Relative Population Density, in a few steps, will immediately give us a qualitative advantage in discussing and understanding economics which is not enjoyed by those accountants and “economists” who have studied economy at even the most prestigious universities. We begin by defining Mankind (population) physically, as a process, not as an object. Since we have already identified LaRouche’s development of “Physical Economy” as a new science, let us take Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of science, as expressed in his 1930 paper “The Study of Life and the New Physics”:
These living individuals, scientific workers, constitute science as a social phenomenon: their spiritual disposition, their mastery, the level of their understanding and their satisfaction with the work they have accomplished, their will—this global scientific viewpoint—are essential factors in the historic progress of scientific knowledge.
Science is a complex social creation of humanity, unique and incomparable to anything else, it has a universal character much more so than literature or art, and has little relationship to the forms of life of the state and society. It is a global social formation, as the forces of facts and generalizations, equally obligatory for the entire world, form its base.
There exists nothing comparable in any other spiritual domain of human life. Science is made up of living personalities, connected by this universal obligation...
—Vladimir Vernadsky, The Study of Life and the New Physics (1930)
Now let us proceed, in a few steps, to LaRouche’s definition of “Potential Relative Population Density,” drawing primarily from LaRouche's video presentation, The Power of Labor.
Population Density — “is the average number of persons dwelling on a square mile or square kilometer of habitable land area.” The term implies the number of individuals which are supported by the current mode of labor and level of technology. For instance, under the very primitive so-called “hunter-gatherer” society the mode of existence and sustenance was bounded by the highest form of technology used by individuals, a few simple tools. Under this form of technology the land area needed to support an individual was measured to be around 10 sq kilometers. Were mankind still bounded by a “hunter-gatherer” mode of operation the land area of the planet would not be able to sustain more than 10 million or so individuals at once. This is obviously not the case.
Relative Population Density — “Not every part of the land we inhabit is equally suitable. Given the same quality of technology, the amount we can produce from some land is less than we can produce on other land. This means we cannot treat each and every sq km of land as representing the same rate of Potential Population Density, the quality of this land is not permanently fixed; we improve the land; we also deplete those improvements.”
Potential Relative Population Density — “To determine how fruitful society has become, it is not enough to know what the present Relative Population Density is. We must discover what the Relative Population Density potentially could be at the given level of technology… This measurement becomes our approximate measurement of the fruitfulness of society. This is the approximate measurement of the Productive Powers of Labor.”
At this point we return to the set of questions previously posed: How does Mankind produce more than he consumes? How do we sustain a growing population at higher living standards? How and why does Man create things which did not previously exist? And how do we measure a developing economy?
This metric, Potential Relative Population Density, provides a means of measuring the economy as a whole, rather than adding up the (monetary) values of its components or actions of individuals. With this metric, it becomes possible to discuss human economy as a whole, and to measure, directly, the value of the truest driver of growth: the development and introduction of new principles. While a new principle or technology may make direct monetary profits over time, it increases the power of mankind immediately.
Heuristic graphic demonstrating how man creates new resource bases with progressively higher energy flux densities, allowing a constant and ever-growing expansion of man's ability to support increasing populations.
As with the animals, mankind operating under a fixed system does draw down the raw material resource base defined by that system, both through absolute depletion and through increasingly physically costly means of resource-extraction. But unlike the animals, improvements in technology overcome raw materials depletion in two ways:
2) "Technological revolutions redefine in a fundamental way at least part of the spectrum of natural resources which mankind may employ efficiently. Without endless technological progress society is doomed sooner or later.”
The immediately foregoing statements are key to understanding how mankind has progressed from some 10 million individuals, no more than the higher apes, to over 7 billion presently.
However, we still lack an applicable definition for technological progress. It could also be posed as a question. How do we increase the productive power of the individual laborer; how do we increase the ratio of output to input?
LaRouche comes again to Leibniz as having defined the crucial concepts necessary to construct a science of economy based solely on physical values.
All machines involve two categorical principles of design and function; first, the motions essential to accomplishing work useful to humanity as a whole are studied and these motions are incorporated in the design and design-of-use of a machine. This machine is then powered by human, animal, water-power, wind-power, or heat-power effort. With the development of hear-powered machinery the possibility was set into motion, in Leibniz’s words, by which one man could perform the work of a hundred others. Secondly, the most characteristic feature of machinery and similar processes, in general, is the transformation of the power supplied to the machine or to an analogous process to a relatively higher Energy-Flux Density...”
— Lyndon LaRouche, The Power of Labor (1984)
Leibniz’s concept of technology, as just defined, and the shadow of the effect of Energy-Flux Density, leads us finally to the more profound point of LaRouche’s work. How does the individual develop the ability to accomplish such an increase in his or her output? And how does Mankind, generally, achieve the same thing?
LaRouche puts the question another way. Namely, what is the nature of human creativity, per se?
— Lyndon LaRouche, The Power of Labor (1984)
Therefore, to grasp the full implications of LaRouche’s discovery, and the actual discovery itself, we must proceed to a discussion of the nature of human creativity; and the recognition that the creative human mind is an image of the creative universe.
In the next section will take up directly Mr. LaRouche’s revolutionary concept of human creativity...