The Fuzzy Normative/Positive Distinction


Technological progress continues to disrupt low-level education, as we get an excellent video presentation of the standard econ 101 ditty about the difference between normative and positive analysis:

That said, I have a ton of problems, both philosophical and writerly in nature, about the idea that there’s a rigid distinction between “normative” and “positive” modes of analysis. Any piece of “positive” analysis is necessarily couched in language, and while human languages have the resources to draw this normative/positive distinction in a cogent way they also consistently blur the lines. Like, are financial markets “efficient” or merely “unpredictable?”