This NYT article relates to the economic concept of opportunity cost in an interesting way. Opportunity cost is what you give up in order to have or do something you want, and it doesn’t have to be cash money; it can be the value of your time (i.e., of the next best thing you could have been doing with that time). The reality of trade-offs among alternatives leads economists to say, à la Robert Heinlein in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Consider what the impact of a service like Google has on the cost of obtaining information.
Online, We Pay With Our Time Spent Searching
By DAMON DARLIN
Published: July 10, 2010
Even if you don’t pay for TV shows, they aren’t exactly gratis: you can spend 5 to 10 minutes searching, on sites like Hulu.com or Clicker.com.