というFT論説をサマーズが書いている原題は「No free lunches but plenty of cheap ones」;H/T Economist’s View)。

Trade-offs have long been at the center of economics. The aphorism “there is no such thing as a free lunch” captures a central economic idea: You cannot get something for nothing....

Yet I am increasingly convinced that “no free lunch” oversimplifies matters and makes economics too dismal a science. It would be true in a world where all opportunities to make things better had been fully exploited — where, to use another cliché, there were no $100 bills lying on the street. But recent experience suggests that by improving incentives or making strategic investments, we can achieve apparently conflicting objectives to a greater extent than conventional wisdom would suggest.


Trade-offs should be seen not as constraints but challenges. There are plenty of very cheap lunches out there for those with the will to find them. Economics has much to contribute and much to gain from this search as well. It can become a cheerful science.







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