March 20th, 2008
The law of diminishing returns is a classic law of economics. The economics definition might be a little confusing so I’ll do my best in explaining the basic idea of it. Essentially it means that as you continue to add more of the same thing, the added benefit becomes less and less.
Here are a few real life examples which should help to clear up the meaning:
1. Imagine a student who is studying to take an easy test. Let’s assume that he can learn everything in about 10 hours of study. The first 10 hours of studying will have a much greater impact on his test score than his second 10 hours of studying. After a certain point, any extra studying will be a waste of time because he already knows the material.
2. Imagine now that you are going to clean your messy bedroom. The first hour of cleaning will make the most difference, the second hour should make less difference than the first hour, and eventually, if you continue cleaning your room, your extra time spent cleaning won’t make much difference at all because your room will already be clean.
3. How much money someone has works the same way. The first million dollars you earn makes a much bigger difference on the quality of your life than the second million dollars. After a certain point, extra money doesn’t make any difference in your lifestyle at all. In terms of lifestyle, there is not much difference between 30 billion and 60 billion dollars.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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