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.
Top Ten New Year’s Additions:
- When you are at an AMC theater deciding among the 100+ selections in the Coke machine, you might worry about choice fatigue
- Explaining the financial hardship experienced by a furloughed government worker during the shutdown, you can refer to negative externalities.
- When asked why we have done nothing about Medicare’s trust fund running out in 2026, you can reply that Congress’s opportunity cost is too high.
- Knowing that the Dow dropped 6% during the second year (2018) of the Trump presidency–its worst decline in a decade– you can ask if it was correlation or causation.
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…”
Here is one I got from Kevin Denny (Thank you!):
- To reject any inconvenient fact, “The econometric evidence is not clear on this.”
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
Ideal for the classroom, econlife.com reflects Elaine Schwartz’s work as a teacher and a writer. As a teacher at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, she’s been an Endowed Chair in Economics and chaired the history department. She’s developed curricula, was a featured teacher in the Annenberg/CPB video project “The Economics Classroom,” and has written several books including Econ 101 ½ (Avon Books/Harper Collins). You can get econlife on a daily basis! Head to econlife.