"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (alternatively, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" or other variants) is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. The initialisms TNSTAAFL, TANSTAAFL, and TINSTAAFL are also used. Uses of the phrase dating back to the 1930s and 1940s have been found, but the phrase's first appearance is unknown. The "free lunch" in the saying refers to the nineteenth century practice in American bars of offering a "free lunch" as a way to entice drinking customers. The phrase and the acronym are central to Robert Heinlein's 1966 science fiction novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which popularized it. The free-market economist Milton Friedman also popularized the phrase by using it as the title of a 1975 book, and it often appears in economics textbooks; Campbell McConnell writes that the idea is "at the core of economics".
Other articles related to "free lunch, free":
... requires trading off one goal against another." The idea that there is no free lunch at the societal level applies only when all resources are being ... If not, a 'free lunch' can be had through a more efficient utilisation of resources ... Similarly, someone can benefit for "free" from an externality or from a public good, but someone has to pay the cost of producing these benefits ...
Famous quotes containing the words lunch and/or free:
“Long as theres lunch counters, you can always find work.”
—Mother and Aunts Of Dorothy Allison, U.S. waitresses. As quoted in Skin, ch. 2, by Dorothy Allison (1994)
“A youthful mind is seldom totally free from ambition; to curb that, is the first step to contentment, since to diminish expectation is to increase enjoyment.”
—Frances Burney (17521840)