Writing Contest: Semi-finalist
Song: "Money (That's What I Want)" (The Beatles)
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
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.
2005 The Beatles Studio-www.thebeatles.com.hk