“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
– Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman, a hugely influential American economist who once advised Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, eliminated US conscription, and advocated the free market economy, is the man who this popular quote is often linked to, having titled a book after this adage.
In economics, this phrase is often uttered to remind people of the opportunity cost of gain and some form of retribution – the retribution may come even decades later or may have passed long ago (noted software engineer Fred Brooks: “You can only get something for nothing if you have previously gotten nothing for something.”).
When applied to business and life, whenever you believe you’ve struck upon luck, it’s important to remember that it may have already been paid for, or you may have to pay for it later.