M Friedman Essays In Positive Economics

Underneath the welter of arguments offered for and against such legislation there is an underlying consensus on the objective of achieving a "living wage" for all, to use the ambiguous phrase so common in such discussions.The difference of opinion is largely grounded on an implicit or explicit difference in predictions about the efficacy of this particular means in furthering the agreed-on end.MONETARY THEORY AND POLICY THE EFFECTS OF A FULL-EMPLOYMENT POLICY ON ECONOMIC STABILITY: A FORMAL ANALYSIS 11 7 . [,] a system of rules for the attainment of a given end"; comments that "confusion between them is common and has been the source of many mischievous errors"; and urges the importance of "recognizing a distinct positive science of political economy."1 This paper is concerned primarily with certain methodological problems that arise in constructing the "distinct positive science" Keynes called for-in particular, the problem how to decide whether a suggested hypothesis or theory should be tentatively accepted as part of the "body of systematized knowledge concerning what is." But the confusion Keynes laments is still so rife and so much of a hindrance to the recognition that economics can be, and in part is, a positive science that it seems well to preface the main body of the paper with a few remarks about the relation between positive and normative economics. The subject matter of economics is regarded by almost everyone as vitally important to himself and within the range of his own experience and competence; it is * I have incorporated bodily in this article without special reference most of my brief "Comment" in A Survey of Contemporary Economics, Vol. When economics seemed to provide such evidence of its worth, in Great Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century, the prestige and acceptance of "scientific economics" rivaled the current prestige of the physical sciences. But neither the one nor the other is, in my view, a fundamental distinction between the two groups of sciences.

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How is one to resolv Read it as I was writing my thesis on monetary theory.

Could one not analyze the same material and reach different conclusions? Another problem associated with this empiricist stance is that the use of statistics is not necessarily value-free.

Self-proclaimed "experts" speak with many voices and can hardly all be regarded as disinterested; in any event, on questions that matter so much, "expert" opinion could hardly be accepted solely on faith even if the "experts" were nearly unanimous and clearly disinterested.

3 4 Essays in Positive Economics the source of continuous and extensive controversy and the occasion for frequent legislation.

Laymen and experts alike are inevitably tempted to shape positive conclusions to fit strongly held normative preconceptions and to reject positive conclusions if their normative implications-or what are said to be their normative implications-are unpalatable.

2 The conclusions of positive economics seem to be, and are, immediately relevant to important normative problems, to questions of what ought to, be done and how any given goal can be attained.

As Keynes says, it deals with "what is," not with "what ought to be." Its task is to provide a system of generalizations that can be used to make correct predictions about the consequences of any change in circumstances.

Positive economics is in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments.

"Stimulating, provocative, often infuriating, but well worth reading."—Peter Newman, Economica"His critical blast blows like a north wind against the more pretentious erections of modern economics.

It is however a healthy and invigorating blast, without malice and with a sincere regard for scientific objectivity."—K. Boulding, Political Science Quarterly"Certainly one of"Stimulating, provocative, often infuriating, but well worth reading."—Peter Newman, Economica"His critical blast blows like a north wind against the more pretentious erections of modern economics.

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