2005

Writing Contest: Semi-finalist

Song: "Money (That's What I Want)" (The Beatles)

Ryan Walker, Wadsworth High School, Wadsworth, OH (Teacher: John Johnson)

Economics plays a very important role in our society; economic concepts govern our

actions and our government's policies. As a result of this, the expression of economic situations

is very prevalent in artwork, especially in music. From blues to rap, many genres of music focus

on economics and economic situations. One song that suits this assumption is the Beatles' song

"Money (That's What I Want)."

In this song, several important economic concepts are touched upon. These include

opportunity cost, utility, value, and want.

Opportunity cost is most easily described as a type of tradeoff. It is the decision to have

one thing over something else. As mentioned in this song, "Your lovin' gives me a thrill, but

your lovin' don't pay my bills." This statement demonstrates the concept of opportunity cost.

There is a trade-off involved: the singer can either spend all of his time "lovin'" the person he is

addressing or doing something productive to make money. This is the classic tradeoff.

Another concept is that of utility. As expressed in the song, "Money don't get everything

it's true, what it don't get, I can't use." This suggests that money has a great deal of utility and

having it is important in obtaining necessary materials, because not having it prevents the

acquiring of those materials.

Though value is similar to utility, it can stand alone as a concept implied in this song.

Value is often associated with utility, but not always. For example, diamonds are virtually

useless; they are more or less pretty rocks, but they have a very high value. But this value does

not necessarily need to be expressed in terms of profit; some types of value are sentimental. The

singer recognizes that "The best things in life are free," but in the end rejects the idea of a lack of

profitable value: "But you can keep them for the birds and bees."

The final economic concept in this song is want, defined as the expression of a need.

"(money) that's what I want," is how the singer expresses his want and need for money. It

fulfills most of the singer's needs, thus wanting is a major economic concept covered in this

song.

In conclusion, the Beatles' song "Money (That's What I Want)" contains several

economic concepts, which include: opportunity cost, utility, value, and want. This song is about

more than economics though; it is about human nature, and our desire for more-of everything.

References:

http://www.thebeatles.com.hk/lyrics/lyrics.asp?lyTitle=Money+(That's+What+I+Want),

2005 The Beatles Studio-www.thebeatles.com.hk