If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to sound like an economist, please remember the following…and do send in your own suggestions.
- Anytime your community refrigerator gets too messy, just say it’s the tragedy of the commons.
- Finding something cheap on Amazon that you sold for more elsewhere, you can explain that you had an arbitrage opportunity.
- Doing poorly in one class, you can say you have a comparative advantage elsewhere.
- Hanging up after 30 minutes of waiting for that Verizon rep, you can decide to ignore your sunk costs.
- Seeing how your monthly permit means you use the parking lot more than when you pay each day, just say the incentive was at the margin.
- Knowing that the Dow rose during the Obama presidency, you can ask if it was correlation or causation.
Here is one I got from Kevin Denny (Thank you!):
- To reject any inconvenient fact, “The econometric evidence is not clear on this.”
The Original Top Ten List
- Whatever the question, always answer, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
- Defend a decision by declaring, “It was worth the opportunity cost.”
- Whether you like or dislike government, point to, “The power of the market.”
- Explain a love of low prices with, “It’s the law of demand.”
- Explain high prices with, “It’s the law of supply.”
- Preface a position with, “on the one hand…but on the other…”
- Justify your Thai T-shirt, Japanese camera, and Sumatran coffee beans by repeating, “comparative advantage, comparative advantage…”
- When asked, “How are we doing?” just cite the GDP, CPI, and S&P.
- Know that the size of the pie has nothing to do with food.
- And finally, the most dependable way to “think economically” is to remember that, no matter what the topic, “It’s about the economy…”