Thinking like an Economist: Costs

With computers, “the stories were coming in at six or nine-thousand words,” rather than the three thousand words courtesy of typewrites, “but there wasn’t much more story.” What was happening, recalled Neil Gaiman, “if you’re typing, putting stuff down is work. If you have a computer, adding is not work. Choosing is work.”

To think like an economist is to think about costs. Cheaper tends to equal more, not only price but ambiguity, uncertainty, time and whatever frame a person looks through. To consider costs broadly is to think about design.

Gaiman’s writing shed has no Wi-Fi. This raises the cost. This is the same idea that James Clear told Ted Seides: even though your phone is 10 seconds away that 10 seconds is a huge cost compared to remaining on your couch.