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A branch of economics that I personally try hard to ascribe to is “positive economics.” Positive economics is objective, without emotion or value judgements. Positive economics can be referred to as “What is, what was, and what probably will be” economics. Positive economics is based on sound economic theory, probability, and statistical methods. Positive economics studies and determines the probable outcomes from an increase or decrease in taxes. Positive economics does not prescribe that taxes should be increased or decreased. That decision is for the people of our democratic society to evaluate and decide through their duly elected political representatives. Positive economics provides only the probable outcomes of alternative decisions. It is assumed that an educated society will make the most rational choices for themselves, and exercise those choices in the marketplace.
“That person is hungry.” What is the cost of feeding that person? What is the benefit that you or society will accrue if that person is fed? What is the cost of not feeding this person? What is the benefit from not feeding this person? Positive economics tries to objectively answer these questions by doing what is called a cost/benefit analysis.