Originally posted by kmax87
How long before the conservative base wakes up and works out there is no such thing as a free lunch, that people do matter, and that the system winding down although favoring the rich in the short term, affects everyone where it hurts most, in the long run.
That running endless scare campaigns about socialism and big brother only works for so long and that ...[text shortened]... "me-first/me-only" mind meld finally wears off, does anyone see it having a long term future?
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (alternatively, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" or other variants) is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. The acronyms TANSTAAFL and TINSTAAFL are also used. Uses of the phrase dating back to the 1930s and 1940s have been found, but the phrase's first appearance is unknown. The "free lunch" in the saying refers to the nineteenth century practice in American bars of offering a "free lunch" with drinks. The phrase and the acronym are central to Robert Heinlein's 1966 libertarian science fiction novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which popularized it. The free-market economist Milton Friedman also popularized the phrase by using it as the title of a 1975 book, and it often appears in economics textbooks; Campbell McConnell writes that the idea is "at the core of economics".
TANSTAAFL demonstrates opportunity cost. Greg Mankiw described the concept as: "To get one thing that we like, we usually have to give up another thing that we like. Making decisions requires trading off one goal against another." The idea that there is no free lunch at the societal level applies only when all resources are being used completely and appropriately, i.e., when economic efficiency prevails. If not, a 'free lunch' can be had through a more efficient utilisation of resources. If one individual or group gets something at no cost, somebody else ends up paying for it. If there appears to be no direct cost to any single individual, there is a social cost. Similarly, someone can benefit for "free" from an externality or from a public good, but someone has to pay the cost of producing these benefits.
In the sciences, TANSTAAFL means that the universe as a whole is ultimately a closed system—there is no magic source of matter, energy, light, or indeed lunch, that does not draw resources from something else, and will not eventually be exhausted. Therefore the TANSTAAFL argument may also be applied to natural physical processes in a closed system (either the universe as a whole, or any system that does not receive energy or matter from outside). (See Second law of thermodynamics.)