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  The President of the world's biggest polluter (the United States) needs to do more...

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yaga49 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2013 at 1:37 AM via web

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  The President of the world's biggest polluter (the United States) needs to do more than propose well-intentioned but insufficient measures that amounts to using a squirt gun to quell a raging fire."  Is this is a positive or a normative statement?   

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 16, 2013 at 1:47 AM (Answer #1)

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There are parts of this statement that are positive but, as a whole, it is a normative statement.

The field of economics can be broken down into positive economics and normative economics.  Positive economics consists of statements about what is.  Normative economics consists of statements about what should be.  Statements about positive economics are falsifiable.  This means that they can be proven to be either true or false.  Statements about normative economics cannot be proven.  They are, in essence, opinions.

Part of this statement is falsifiable.  That is the part that says that the United States is the biggest polluter in the world.  This statement can be proven to be either true or false.  (It turns out that it is false since China is the world’s biggest polluter.)   Even though it is false, it is still a statement of positive economics because pollution can be measured and statements about the amount of pollution put out by each country can be falsified.

However, the statement as a whole is not falsifiable.  The main point of the statement is that the president of the United States needs to do more about pollution.  This is not something that can be proven.  There is no objective way to say that the president absolutely needs to do more.

For this reason, this statement as a whole is normative.

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