Science requires art, art requires science, each being complementary to the order. Economics are not unanimous in this respect. According to some economists like Robbins, Friedman, etc. Economics is only a positive science. On the other hand, according to some economists like Marshall and Hawtrey, are of the opinion that it is both a positive and a normative science.
Economics is a Positive Science
Positive science is that science which studies an accurate and true description of events as they happen. According to R.T. Bye,” Positive science confines itself to accurate description of phenomena, it explains what is, how it works and what are its effect.” Positive science confines itself to the study of: what, how and why. Its study does not tell: what ought to be. Positive science has no place for any kind of suggestion.
Eminent classical economists like Senior and modern economists like Lord Robbins etc. are of the opinion that economics is only a positive science. It studies what is? what was? and what will be? study of economics explains what is the rate of wage, how it is determined? It does not explain what ought to be the rate of wage. According to Lord Robbins,”The function of economist is to explore and explain and not to advocate or condemn.”
Economics is also a Normative Science
Many economists like Marshall and Hawtrey, regard Economics as a normative science. A normative science is one of the aims at determining ‘norms’ or ‘value’ or ‘ideals’. It is a science whose object is also to assist in the solution of concrete problem. J.N. Keynes has aptly said,”A normative science or a regulatory science is a body of systematised knowledge relating to criteria of ‘what ought to be’ and concerned with the ideal as distinguished from the actual. The object of normative science is the determination of ideals.”
As a normative science, Economics suffers suggestion. For example, it councels that there should be economics development of the country, prices should be stabilized, full employment should be achieved, income should be equitable distribute etc. Economics is not concerned with examining the fact only but it has to set economics norms as well. Economics is therefore not concerned with mere collection of fact. It is not enough for the economists for the solution of concrete problem. He has to pronounce judgment and tender advice on economists issues.
Is Economics an Art?
There is a controversy among the economists as to whether Economics is an art or not. According to Lord Robbins and other economists, Economics is not an Art. But Marshall and other’s, are of the viem that Economics is not only a science but also an art. According to J.N. Keynes,”An art is a system of rules for the attaniment of given end.”
J.N. Keynes has used the term ‘Applied Economics’ in place of the term ‘Art’. Modern economists substitute the term ‘Economic Policy’ for ‘Art’.
In short Economics is both a science and an art. Prof. Mehta has given a suggestion to remove any doubt on the subject. He suggests that as a science it should be called “Economics” and as an Art it should be called ‘economy’.