Casting Spells to Fix the Broken Car

Folk wisdom captures very succinctly the idea that life is about tradeoffs in the saying that one cannot eat one’s cake and have it as well. If you eat the cake, it is gone and you no longer have it. Economists call it opportunity cost . The opportunity cost of eating the cake is not having it; conversely, the opportunity cost of having the cake is that of not eating it.

Remarkable results follow from exploring the idea of opportunity costs. The whole theory of comparative advantage — the fundamental reason why trade is a win-win game — pivots around the idea. One could do worse than to sit and consider opportunity costs whenever one contemplates doing something.
Continue reading