Edwin G. Dolan


The fundamental principle on which this strategy is built may be expressed in a simple slogan—There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, the "TANSTAAFL principle," for short. The TANSTAAFL principle is closely related to the fundamental theorem of ecological economics, that everything depends on everything else. Everything worthwhile has a cost. Whenever you think you are getting something for nothing, look again—someone, somewhere, somehow is paying for it. Behind every free lunch there is a hidden cost to be accounted for.

The task of ecological economics is to figure out how to restructure the economic system so that these hidden costs will be brought out into the open, with the ultimate aim that no one who benefits from the use of the environment will be able to escape without paying in full. The rest of this book is devoted to working out specific applications of this general strategy in order to deal with specific problems.


Rollo May

The Courage to Create, reprinted 1994

I may have worked at my desk morning after morning trying to find a way to express some important idea. When my "insight" suddenly breaks through—which may happen when I am chopping wood in the afternoon—I experience a strange lightness in my step as though a great load were taken off my shoulders, a sense of joy on a deeper level that continues without any relation whatever to the mundane tasks that I may be performing at the time. It cannot be just that the problem at hand has been answered—that generally brings only a sense of relief. What is the source of this curious pleasure?

I propose that it is the experience of this-is-the-way-things-are-meant-to-be. If only for that moment, we participate in the myth of creation. Order comes out of disorder, form out of chaos, as it did in the creation of the universe. The sense of joy comes from our participation, no matter how slight, in being as such. The paradox is that at that moment we also experience more vividly our own limitations. We discover the "amor fati" that Nietzsche writes about—the love of one's fate. No wonder it gives a sense of ecstasy!


copyright 1997, MG Taylor Corporation (except where noted)
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