The rhetoric of economics, ctd.


by J De V Graaff: “On the one hand, it could be argued that the term ‘real national income’ is a mere definition, devoid of normative significance. … On the other hand, it could be objected that ‘the real national income’ is an emotive expression; and to say it has increased in to imply that the state of affairs thus described is approved or is in some sense thought to be good or desirable.”

He argues – and I wholeheartedly agree – that we should use the terminology as people normally understand it, with its normative connotation, and not like economists insisting that all that

measures is what it is defined to include.

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One thought on “The rhetoric of economics, ctd.

  1. The mechanics of compilation should always be chasing the normative, but for the forseeable future we must be aware that it can never catch-up. As for now, at least, defining final products is ultimately in the realm of philosophy not empirics.

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