Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Normative versus positive analysis in the history of the theory of production

This paper looks at the history of the theory of production. Before the seventieth century, with the advent of mercantilism, the predominant mode of enquiry was a descriptive/ normative one. The frameworks applied were ethical and/or religious. The questions asked were about what production or occupations would find favour with God or what production was ethically justified. The important point is that these normative frameworks did not give rise to a theory of production. Such a theory only began to emerge with the emergence of a positive approach to economic reasoning more generally.

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