Opportunity Cost

I read the following in a Cambridge International textbook.

Opportunity cost is a very important concept in economics that refers to the cost measured in terms of the next best choice given up when making a decision. Every choice made has an opportunity cost because in most cases there is an alternative. Some examples of opportunity cost are as follows:

  • The opportunity cost of taking Economics is the other subject you could be studying instead.
  • The opportunity cost of visiting the cinema on Saturday night is the sum of money you could have earned from babysitting for your neighbor instead of going to the cinema.
  • The opportunity cost of building an additional airport terminal is the public housing for low-income families that the same government funds could have been used for. 
  • The opportunity cost of a school purchasing 100 laptops for use in the classroom might be the science equipment that cannot be bought as a result.

– excerpted from Cambridge ICGSE and O Level, Paul Hoang & Magaret Ducie

While reading I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics of the late Tupac Shakur’s Keep Your Head Up in which he succinctly expressed this concept in a brief verse. Tupac rapped “they got money for wars but can’t feed the poor.”

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