free lunch

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Economists' jargon for an apparent free benefit that is actually no such thing. It derives from a 19th-century tavern that advertised free food, it being clearly understood that anyone attempting to exploit this offer without buying a drink would be thrown out. The phrase is now used to reflect the economist's belief that wherever there appears to be a free benefit, someone, somewhere, always pays for it.

Subjects: Financial Institutions and Services.

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