Positive or Normative Science
In discussing the scope of Economics. we have also to consider whether Economics is a positive or a normative science. A positive science only explain what is and normative science tells us hat to be, i.e., right or wrong of a thing positive sciatic describes, while the normative science valuate .
When we say. for instance, that the business while making decisions, use profit maximization the criterion, it is positive economics, but when ask ought they use this criterion”. we enter the fie d of nonnative economics.
We have to consider whether Economics pass moral judgments (normative science) or , explain the why of things (positive science).
Classical view: Positive Science. The Classical School was of the view that it was none f the functions of the economists to comment on rightness or wrongness of an economic situation .Almost all leading economists, from N. Senior a ].S. Mill inwards had declared that the science of economics should be concerned only with what I and not what ought to be? Senior thought that the economist could not add even one word of advice. Cairn cross said that Political Economy stood neutral as regards ends as mechanics stands neutral between rival schemes of railway construction. In the classical view, therefore, Economics was a positive Science.
Rubius’ View. In recent times, Robbins has reaffirmed this neutrality and supported the above view. According to him, Economics is not concerned with the desirability or otherwise of the ends. The role or the economist is more and more conceived of as that of the expert who l:an say what consequences are likely to follow certain actions but who cannot judge as an economist the desirability these actions.Introduction of value judgments into economic analysis is considered a transgression of the proper scope of economic theory. It is said that the function (If the economist is merely to explore and explain and nut tn advocate and conundrum.
The position is very well summed up by Cairn-cross thus: “However reluctant economists may be to introduce the brittle thread of ethics snapped by disagreement) into their analysis. they cannot offer the guidance which is so urgently -aught them unless they do. They Gill explain how the economic system work« without putting the m.uulc of philosophy over the rather drab clothes of economic science. Llut they cannot say how the ystcm can be made to better. They can offer light. but people turn to Economics. Immediately the economist docs venture to offer counsel-as is expected of him he appears in the role of sheep in wolf’ s clothing. economist turned philosopher. This is a rule which e must play consciously -not sheepishly. as if there no wolf’s clothing if his conclusions are to command attention and respect.
Chemistry Faced with scarce resources and competing ends, the choice or a final end is to pass a value judgment. To try to achieve optimum satisfaction b to realise an objective which may be considered good and reasonable. The economic agent has to act that he SC;IIcc means should be put to the best advantage and should he wasted. This is obtrusively human value.