I managed to prove Milton Friedman right in fine style today. First I gave a talk on the FTA to about 700 high school students, which was supposed to sell them on the idea of studying economics at UQ. In return (and in addition to a small gift from the Queensland Economics Teachers Association) I got an invitation to lunch which I declined so I could lunch with the seminar speaker in my other department, Political Science and International Relations (it was Joe Camilleri, talking on Islam and the West). Arriving early, I ordered straight away to beat the rush, only to discover that, had I waited I would have had my lunch paid for out of some fund or another.
So, if there are any free lunches about, I wasn’t getting them today. Instead, I paid three times (giving the talk, turning up at the seminar and handing over the cash) and only got fed once. Fortunately, I love giving talks and (given a good speaker) like attending seminars.
fn1. Although Friedman and Robert Heinlein usually share the credit for this acronym, Tyler Cowen points out that it should actually go to Alvin Hansen, America’s most prominent early advocate of Keynesianism, and someone whom the average person with a TANSTAAFL bumper sticker might be surprised to find they agreed.