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Why “the Opportunity Cost” Can Never Be “Zero”…


I am writing these lines out of the need to correct certain errors that orthodox economics textbooks fuel, sometimes, with brave nonchalance. Such an error emerges even from the first “economics lesson”, namely the lesson on “the economic way of thinking”, which seeks to explain human action in the counterfactual terms of “the opportunity costs”. Put together, such errors – perpetuated in textbooks, amphitheatres or “scientific” lectures – undermine the correct knowledge of economics and the acquisition of a correct economic reasoning by those interested by the logic of this science. In this article I will seek to decipher the anatomy of “the opportunity cost”, a defining judgement for the economic way of thinking, as rightfully acknowledged by almost all economics textbooks. It is about the well-known conclusive statement that generally accompanies the analysis of the opportunity cost.

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Cosmin Marinescu