Saturday, November 10, 2007

I am Alan Partridge

Apparently, I use "normative" language to promote a "positive" agenda.

The country's best talk show host, Alan Partridge, once suffered from a similar problem:

"Philip Parsons in the Times called the show moribund. Well I looked up moribund in my dictionary..."

In these more modern times, I asked google to help me understand what "normative" and "positive" meant...

And Richard Murphy, my accuser, was completely correct.

Taking the second definition, we get a sense of what he was driving at:

"Refers to value judgments as to 'what ought to be,' in contrast to positive which is about "what is."

He believes that positive language is the preserve of economists and those "on the right who buy the conventional economic model"

Again, he may well be right.

So, the question is: how are those who believe that economics does have valid points to make on political matters - and who believe that outcomes matter more than intentions - to communicate effectively with those who don't?

If the "normative" folk aren't going to switch into "positive" language, the only option is for the "positives" to move in the other direction.

So, readers, what would a sane economic argument look like if it were presented in a normative manner?  Anybody know? Anybody want to take a stab?!

1 comment:

Ben said...

help me understand what "normative" and "positive" meant

Oh good, it wasn't just me...