Opportunity cost lessons from Gulzar/Kishore Kumar/Amol Palekar

August 11, 2017
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Another interesting piece from Amit Varma on learning economics from Bollywood:

Aane wala pal/ Jaane waala hai/ Ho sake tho isme/ Zindagi bita lo/ Pal jo yeh jaana waala hai/ Ho ho.’ — Gol Maal.
‘The moment that is to come/ Will soon be gone./ If you can/ Live your life/ In this passing moment/ Ho ho.’ 

These words were written by master economist Gulzar, sung by policy wonk Kishore Kumar and acted out, with his customary charm, by polemicist Amol Palekar.

Bindiya Goswami goes visibly weak in the knees when the song begins, though we can’t see her knees, and even Utpal Dutt seems to have a bit of a man crush. The song was not a wasted effort — and in that sense, followed its own instruction.

Aane Wala Pal is a favourite of economists because it is such an eloquent poetic expression of one of the most important concepts in economics: Opportunity Cost. The one basic truth about this world, poets and economists have long bemoaned, is scarcity. Everybody can’t have everything, and choices have to be made. Opportunity Cost, in the words of economist James Buchanan, “expresses the basic relationship between scarcity and choice.”

Superb…

Though, would want to keep economics away while hearing this wonderful song. It is important not to let economics mix with everything in life…

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