Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Ben Franklin said that a penny saved is a penny earned. When I was in school, I was taught that this meant that putting money in your piggy bank was earning money...or perhaps your bank account, where the money would accrue interest. Just like a lot of things they teach you in school, I decided that this was a load of crap upon later reflection. What Benji was actually telling us became apparent after I spent some time in outdoor markets where items don't have UPCs. Ben meant that if you can lower the price of an item through negotiation, then you have earned the extra consumer surplus as a result of the lower price. Maybe this has been lost on us because of the radical differences in market structure in America between the 21st century and the 18th.
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