Did Robinson not see that the time he saved he could devote to doing something else?

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms Second Series

Here is an important essay in which appears Robinson Crusoe, cherished by economists for the simplified situations offered in plain sight to explain some phenomena. In this case, we are facing a whole discussion around the concept of opportunity cost.

The economist John Quiggin mentions in his essay “Economics in Two Lessons” that the concept has a name (Opportunitätskosten) since Friedrich von Wieser and that it was probably touched upon for the first time by Benjamin Franklin. Yet, he gives credit to Bastiat for having developed the idea a certain number of times in order to “demolish spurious arguments” from his opponents. We benefit here of one of these historical and superb developments.

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