As far as the present author knows, the notion of tanstaafl was introduced by Robert Anson Heinlein, who was and is the Grandmaster of Science Fiction. The expression appears in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It is an acronym for "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Like Langham's Price Theory, Moon... consists mostly of preachy partisanship. Nevertheless, Heinlein succeeds beautifully in writing prose of "page turner" readability, as evidenced perhaps by his receipt of various Hugo and Nebula awards.

A similar concept comes from Robert Anton Wilson, and is called "tanstagi." Apparently, this is a slogan of the "Invisible Hand Society" and stands for "there ain't no such thing as government interference." I like Heinlein's take better, as it's more brutally cynical and less mystical.

We may yet hold the vain hope than humyn "group cleverness" (as Wilson called it) might be sufficient to the task of providing the Amoral Hand (as I prefer to call it) with a Worthy Opponent. I guess I don't find having the blue faction to thank for a less dystopian future quite as palatable as did Wilson. I must be reading too many rejection letters or something.

Another rightist luminary who has influenced my way of thinking is arch-liberal economist Steve Langham. Since the present subject is economics, of course, arch-liberal means arch-conservative. Langham, in his delightfully painful polemic Price Theory, includes literally thousands of carefully worked out examples supplemented with tens of thousands of questions and problems that force the reader to confront the awful truth that Mr. Taggart and Mrs. Rearden recognized in each others' adulterous eyes that fateful night in Ayn Rand's 1,080-page pamphlet Atlas Shrugged... this awful truth being the fact that, unless you're some kind of a superdupersalescritter, there are certainly more than enough people less mediocre than you are to meet the economy's staffing needs. This means that if you're not one of those 99th percentile types (or "people with resumes," as I call them) then you should probably thank your lucky ass that the proverbial Men Of Ability put up with your slacker noncontributing existence on this world they manage to (literally) "make go around" with their Ability.

My own opinion is that what Rand's supposed Men Of Ability need more than anything else is the same thing as their ally the Amoral Hand needs...a Worthy Opponent. What we mediocre Liberal Artist types need is some kind of hero of the mediocre people. This of course would be someone who can succeed at proving in a very public and humiliating way that, contrary to Objectivisticist Dogma, mediocre people are actually BETTER than Men Of Ability, even than Atlas Himself, at the task of keeping the Planet from falling into the Abyss. And once one of our own beats the (expletive deletive) egotistical bastards fair and square, let's really really really really rub it in HARD.

These flames, of course, are merely my opinions. They do not represent the agenda of economics wikicity which, according to the neutrality principle, has no agenda.

Alas, I am too angry for my own good. I should take a chill pill or something.