The Principles Of Economics

When I consider everything that grows

The study of Economics should begin with a sense of wonder.

Several of my father’s delusions concerned the nature of time. These he attempted to explain
much as he explained the basic concepts of economics in the textbook he
coauthored on the subject.

Holds in perfection but a little moment,

One of the delusions was that all the clocks, and hence our experience of time, had been
subtly changed as the result of a complex and carefully orchestrated plot involving doctors and

That this huge stage presenteth naught but shows

Consider time.

The magnitude of this conspiracy was difficult to fathom, since it involved producing minute changes in all
the individual clocks around the world.

Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;

There are only 24 hours in a day, and we must live our lives under this constraint.

The mechanisms of the plot were also unclear.

When I perceive that men as plants increase,

But the reality of the stolen time was easily observable. Watch, he would say.

The study of timekeeping is known as horology.

Cheered and checked even by the selfsame sky,

That which we forgo when we make a choice or decision is called the opportunity cost of that decision.

Just watch

the second hand.

Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease

Between 1280 and 1320, there is an increase in the number of references to clocks and
horologes in church records, and this probably indicates that a new type of clock mechanism had been

This conspiracy was ingeniously and intricately linked by myriad invisible channels of connection to the
conspiracy resulting in the rearrangement of the rooms of the house

And wear their brave state out of memory:

and minor irregularities of the earth’s rotation around the sun.

Consider the cost of producing this book.

As an empiricist and a teacher, it was endlessly frustrating to him that he did not understand the
science well enough to convince others of what was going on.

Then the conceit of this inconstant stay

In 1675, Huygens and Robert Hooke invented the spiral balance, or the hairspring,
designed to control the oscillating speed of the balance wheel.

This he blamed on the side-effects of medication.

Sets you most rich in youth before my eyes

This fundamental observation that decisions have opportunity costs

The fact that time was being stolen

Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay

is the reason economics is sometimes called the “dismal science.”

he considered incontrovertible.

To change your day of youth to sullied night;

An ideal clock would give the time to unlimited accuracy, but this is of course

not realisable.

And, all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I ingraft you new.

Give three examples of the fallacy of composition.


—Quoted material is from Case/Fair, The Principle of Economics Instructor’s Edition, Shakespeare’s sonnet 15, and Wikipedia (“Clock”).