Tag Archives: trade-offs

The Great Christmas trade-off

(featured image: based on an original photo by Maciej326) Do we need to choose between outcomes, or between values, this Christmas? This is the time when, traditionally, ubiquitous is the most fitting term for Slade’s Noddy Holder’s voice, yelling “It’s … Continue reading

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The lure of zero

(featured image: Mondisso via Pixabay) We intuitively understand that, when we want to maximize something that is good for us, there are almost always trade-offs involved. But are we equally astute when we want to minimize something that is bad? … Continue reading

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Economics for other people

(credit: Lenny DiFranza CC BY/Flickr) Two core economics concepts are crucial to our decisions, and even more so if they affect others than just ourselves Late last Sunday, May 31st, my wife’s friend Linda got a surprise from the UK … Continue reading

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The needs of the many

(featured image: Isriya Paireepairit CC BY) Rules and laws matter, and they often matter even more when we don’t like them – because they protect the needs of the many against attacks by the powerful few The works of William … Continue reading

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Political tradeoffs

Traditional political parties depend on compromise. That is bad news for them in uncompromising times Imagine an election in which a party that did not even exist less than two months before gains one-third of the vote, pushing not only … Continue reading

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Find your inner economist

(featured image credit: Ulleo) To make good choices, we have to be able to compare apples and pears Perhaps the most fundamental error that people make when discussing, or thinking about, economics is the belief that, confronted with two or … Continue reading

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Trade-offs, fast and slow

(featured image credit: domeckopol) Our biology determines how we make decisions, but we have a secret weapon Economics and biology are not the most obvious bedfellows. Standard economics has a reputation of assuming agents who have access to all relevant … Continue reading

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Unwitting mental time accountants

(featured image credit: alles/pixabay) Are we better at making good use of our time than at making good use of our money? What is an hour worth to you? If you are in work, a reasonable approximation would be your … Continue reading

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Signals from the unexpected

(credit: didgeman CC BY) The messages that are sent when expectations and reality are at odds can be revealing and powerful A few weeks ago, three things happened to me on three consecutive days. All three involved choices other people … Continue reading

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The curse of two hands

Is ambidexterity a mixed blessing? When I started blogging almost four years ago, one of my first pieces(*) was entitled “A set of scales has two arms”. It was a reaction to a few instances of one-sided reasoning: the draining … Continue reading

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