There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch -
the TANSTAAFL Principle

As first discussed by Robert Heinlein in his book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress ... And later by Edwin G. Dolan in TANSTAAFL, The Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis

"The fundamental principle on which this strategy is built may be expressed in a simple slogan—There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, the "TANSTAAFL principle," for short. The TANSTAAFL principle is closely related to the fundamental theorem of ecological economics, that everything depends on everything else. Everything worthwhile has a cost. Whenever you think you are getting something for nothing, look again—someone, somewhere, somehow is paying for it. Behind every free lunch there is a hidden cost to be accounted for.

The task of ecological economics is to figure out how to restructure the economic system so that these hidden costs will be brought out into the open, with the ultimate aim that no one who benefits from the use of the environment will be able to escape without paying in full. The rest of this book is devoted to working out specific applications of this general strategy in order to deal with specific problems."
- Edwin G. Dolan, TANSTAAFL, 1969

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© MG Taylor Corporation, 1995 - 2002

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