2005

Writing Contest: Runner-Up

Song: "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" (Marilyn Monroe)

Diamonds Are an Economist's Best Friend

Joelle Thomas, Magnificat High School, Rocky River, OH, (Teacher: Kelley Vlosich)

It is true that "A kiss on the hand may be quite continental" but "diamonds are a girl's

best friend," as the song goes. Marilyn Monroe, a blond bombshell, first brought the song

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" to the public's attention in the 1950s. Although the words

"blond bombshell" usually evoke the thought of a blond bimbo, Monroe, through her song, can

be labeled an economist. The lyrics of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"

demonstrate basic principles of economics, including scarcity and supply, opportunity cost, and

capital resources.

Scarcity, the limited amount of goods and services, participates in the song. Why are

diamonds so expensive? The answer is that diamonds are scarce: the earth only produces a small

amount of diamonds (not to mention the labor it takes to find and clean a diamond). Due to this

high input price, the supply of diamonds is low; in turn, the price of diamonds is high. At a high

price, diamonds are not necessarily flying off the shelves. Ironically, this is why diamonds are

so attractive to ladies. Because diamonds are rare, they are something special. So special, in

fact, that a man must "get the ice, or else no dice."

Infatuated males must make a choice: are they willing to spend so much money on a

diamond to win a girl? This represents opportunity cost: the amount of other products that must

be forgone or sacrificed to produce a unit of a product. If a man chooses to pay $20,000 for the

diamond platinum engagement ring, he just might win the girl. The man must decide if the girl

is worth the $20,000. With the same amount of money, he could buy a new car or take a

vacation in Europe. Therefore, the opportunity cost of this romance is a new car or a trip to

Europe.

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" presents diamonds as a type of capital resource.

Diamonds surpass money as the ultimate capital resource. A capital resource is used to obtain

economic resources: land, labor, and capital. Likewise, a diamond is used to "buy" love. For

example, although a kiss may be "grand" it "won't pay the rental on your humble flat." The

lyrics state, "He's your guy when the stocks are high, but beware when they start to descend."

The statement implies that a woman can essentially be bribed by a man. Yet if the man is broke,

he can forget it! This song ventures to place a price on love like any economic good. Love can

be bought with diamonds.

It is evident that this carbon substance has much influence in the economic field. It is

popular because of its scarcity and low supply, it has a high opportunity cost, and it can be used

like money to buy love. "Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend" demonstrates love in an

economic fashion. Placing love in an economic light simplifies the customs and complicated

feelings that come along with man's greatest virtue. If only the world thought like an economist,

the concept of love would be so much less complex!