Why one handed?

US President Harry Truman (1945-1953) is widely credited with saying “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say ‘on the one hand… [and then] on the other.'” The President wanted decisions, not discussions.

I’m here to provide “one-handed” opinions that will be insightful, actionable and (occasionally) upsetting. My advice will often reflect the conventional wisdom of economists, but sometimes I’ll just be giving my  personal opinion.

Here’s an example:

In this post, I talk about the pros and cons of being optimistic or pessimistic. My message in that post is not that it’s okay to be either (a two-handed perspective), but that there are tradeoffs to each perspective. A one-handed economist knows there are always tradeoffs. Economists are fond of saying “there’s no free lunch” because a free lunch always has costs in terms of what you are given to eat, who you eat with, or the waiting time before you’re served. These “opportunity costs” come with any choice and economists spend a lot of time thinking about choices!

Please leave comments, critiques and stories on any post that needs a bit of help. Your participation helps me refine my ideas, learn about new ideas, and change my mind 🙂