Friday, March 21, 2008

There ain’t no free lunch

There’s a old story about a king. One day, the king called his chief adviser and told him, ‘‘Go out and find the secret of success. State it simply and concisely so the people will do it.’’

The adviser spent a year researching the topic and came back to the king with three books full of his findings.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read three books.’’ So, the adviser spent another year and came back with one book.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read a book.’’ So, the adviser spent another year and came back with one chapter.

The king said, ‘‘That’s not simple or succinct enough. The people are lazy. They won’t read a chapter.’’

Finally, the adviser spent another year and came back with five words. The king said, ‘‘Now you’re talking. The people will relate to something that’s that easy to digest.’’

The adviser said, ‘‘Here’s the piece of paper with the five words.’’

The paper said, ‘‘There ain’t no free lunch.’’

The adviser was killed.

---- Here is the principle according to economists ----

"The fundamental principle on which this strategy is built may be expressed in a simple slogan—There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, the "TANSTAAFL principle," for short.

The TANSTAAFL principle is closely related to the fundamental theorem of ecological economics, that everything depends on everything else.

Everything worthwhile has a cost.
Whenever you think you are getting something for nothing, look again—someone, somewhere, somehow is paying for it.
Behind every free lunch there is a hidden cost to be accounted for.