# “The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist”

“The First Law of Economists” (or “The First Law of Economics”) has been jokingly given a “Newton’s Third Law of Motion” spin: “For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.” The joke usually continues: “The Second Law of Economists: They’re both wrong.” The economics joke takes its humor from the perception that economists often disagree.

The joke has been cited in print since at least 1994 and is of unknown authorship.

Economics Jokes

The First Law of Economics: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.

The Second Law of Economics: They’re both wrong.

Wikipedia: Newton’s laws of motion*Newton’s third law*

“Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.”

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.”

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From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Conrad Hirano)

Date: 22 Jun 94 22:19:22 GMT

Local: Wed, Jun 22 1994 5:19 pm

Subject: Re: Are economists funny?

I remember reading this in a book, although I can’t recall the title or authors right now.

The First Law of Economists

For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.

The Second Law of Economists

They’re both wrong.

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From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Hamish Tweedie)

Date: Sat, 6 Aug 94 14:41:37 +1200

Local: Fri, Aug 5 1994 9:41 pm

Subject: Getting Powercache and Virtual Mem to work?

1st Law Economists: For every economist there exists an equal and opposite economist.

2nd Law Economists: They’re both always wrong!

31 July 1995, St. Petersburg (FL) *Times*, Business, pg. 3:

Then there are the dual laws of economists. The first law: “For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.” The second law: “They’re both wrong.”

Google Books*The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions*

By William A. Sherden

New York, NY: Wiley

1998

Pg. 80:

Remember the First Law of Economics: For every economist, there is an equal and opposite economist — so for every bullish economist, there is a bearish one. The Second Law of Economics: They are both likely to be wrong.

28 December 1999, Fort Worth (TX)

*Star-Telegram*, Business, pg. 1:

The first law of economics: “For every forecast, there’s an equal and opposite forecast.” The second law of economics: “Both of them are wrong.”

Google News Archive

8 September 2000,

*New Straits Times*(Malaysia), “On the Net: Economist Jokes,” Youth Quake, pg. 6, col. 2:

The First Law of Economists: For every economist there exists an equal and opposite economist. The Second Law of Economists: They’re both wrong.