Wonders of the (Education) Market

Dave Killion — April 19, 2012

And by lattes, I mean Whoppers.

Thankfully, public schools aren’t the only (or chief) means of obtaining an education. If that were the case, people would have to wander around in a state of economic ignorance for most of their lives, never fully appreciating even a relatively simple concept such as opportunity cost. Briefly stated, the opportunity cost of something is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to some individual, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. For example, the opportunity cost of a book may be the hour I have to work in order to purchase it. Or it could be the number of lattes I can’t afford if I buy the book. Sometimes, making a cost/benefit analysis along these lines can make the difference in determining whether or not to purchase something. But let’s face it – math is hard. So what’s the solution? Red Ferret points the way

How Many is a cute and free little iPhone app which lets you instantly calculate just how many hours of your work it will cost to pay for that shiny bauble you see in the store window. Not only that, but it will give you a more direct and probably painful comparison via Lattes. If that pen costs you 30 luxury soy Chai lattes with sprinkles, is it really worth it? Really?”

Sadly,the app only calculates lattes or hours of work, but if you enter the price of something else, then you can mentally replace ‘lattes’ with ‘ice cream sandwiches’ or something else you might purchase. Who knew studying economics could be so entertaining?

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