Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life's about choices

You know what's interesting? Economics. Economics is the study of choices, of equilibria, of markets; it's the study of why and how, what and how much. It's explanatory, it's [sort of] predictive. And it's effing complicated.

Over the next however-long-it-takes-me, I'll be at Northeastern University in Boston getting a Master's in economics. The plan is complete immersion: I'll be taking classes and working as an economics TA, grading papers and hopefully working with professors on research. My only other time commitment is, well, being married. And after a whole year, I'm pretty sure I've got it down pat.

What's with the name?

To me, one of the most interesting basic ideas of economics is opportunity cost, or the comparative cost between two mutually exclusive choices. To illustrate, let me give you this example:

Suppose I have $10, and with that $10 I can buy either an iPod or two bananas. (Ridiculous cost disparity noted, thank you.) In this case, the opportunity cost of one iPod is two bananas -- that is, I'm giving up two bananas to get an iPod. Not a bad deal.

The concept can be applied to all sorts of things, and when you think of your choices in terms of opportunity cost, then you start to realize that every single choice you make has a cost. Even getting a free ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's costs you the time it takes to wait in line.

Every time you make a choice, you're deciding against something else. In some cases, it may be a complete no-brainer. (In writing this blog, I'm giving up a chance to stick my tongue in the box fan on the window. Tough call.) But other times, you may be making choices without realizing what you're missing.

Stay tuned, because I'm sure that idea will pop up many times throughout the course of this blog. I'll try to keep it interesting by holding other economic discussions and pointing you in the direction of interesting economic topics being discussed elsewhere. And in between, I'm sure you'll be subject to rants on professors and other stuff you're more than welcome to skip. Thanks for reading!


Aaron & Kate said...

YAYYYYYYY! So happy to have something to read other than marketing and psychology journal articles. I will be frequenting this often, and probably arguing points with you via "Post a Comment" on a regular basis. After all, shouldn't everyone be privvy to our [obnoxious, long-winded] sibling banter?

Brian J said...

I think this is a great idea. I can't wait to learn something. Are you going to have pictures? You would be good at that.


Josh said...

Well done! Glad to see the blog is up and running and I can have something else to read when I need a break from the discussion board in my class from UNC. I'll frequent with questions and philosophical ideas when I can!

Steven Fisher said...

What is this, Wheel of Fortune* blog? And not even a SINGLE picture up there?! I SUPPOSE I could read it, but I won't like it; pictures are much easier to look at than words. Anyway, I guess this is a pretty cool idea, I just figured I needed to balance out all of this positive feedback, you know, keep you in check. That's what I'm here for.

*Wheel of Fortune, like the before and after clues they so often have. Though my guess is that you haven't seen Wheel of Fortune in a while so I decided to explain myself.

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