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Economics and Pizza

I’m taking an Economics course and currently we’re studying the law of diminishing marginal utility and I was thinking about it today after lunch…

Today I ate a pizza for lunch, it was difficult, but I ate it all. I can say that marginal utility decreased with each slice of pizza I consumed.

However, could I break this down and say that to my body marginal utility decreased as I consumed slices - it did not want me to eat the whole thing, so it’s satisfaction decreased with each slice. And then say mentally, marginal utility increased - I knew with each slice I was helping achieve my weight gain goals and therefore my satisfaction increased.

I might have some of this worded wrong, but I was just curious whether this could work as an example on a test or something.

But still each additional slice added less towards achieving your weight gain goals than did the preceding slice.

Comparing eating that slice to not having eaten it, or anything else in its place.

Keeping in mind that there is such a thing as moving backwards from your goal.

For example, if all you ate was one slice for the entire day – that being all of your food consumption – obviously you would backslide greatly from your goal.

Added slices per day coming up to, but not quite to, your maintenance level would probably all make about equal difference.

Past that point, while each added slice past maintenance will move you further towards your weight gain goal, it is diminishing returns all the way, first from thermic effect of food, and secondly from decreasing efficiency of absorption.

No that doesn’t really make sense at all.

Marginal utility decreases in both aspects. If you are trying to achieve weight gain goals, the first slice of pizza is the most important, because the alternative is starving. Imagine if you ate:

(1) No food at all
(2) Two slices per day
(3) Six slices per day
(4) Eight slices per day

I would say there would be a lot greater difference in terms of weight gain/loss between (1) and (2) than between (3) and (4).

The only way, that I could think of, that marginal utility could increase in this example was if you were in an eating contest or something. Eating 2 slices would be about the same as eating 10, because anybody in an eating contest could eat 10 slices of pizza. However, there would be a point where each additional slice eaten would greatly increase your chance of winning… until you got so far above the median that it didn’t matter any more. More of a logarithmic curve in that case.

Edit: Bill beat me to it.

Yeah that’s a good example actually, I’m also doing Economics at Uni. I guess if you were to use this example in a test cite some figures such as marginal utility of each slice increased to say (4 slices) (optimum utility) but then after the 5th slice marginal utility was actually detrimental as it was difficult to eat and painful.

Becomes complicated when you throw in another variable (utility increasing due to achieving weight goal + utility decreasing due to being full). I’m sure it could work somehow with the appropriate graphs etc not totally sure lol.

Alright, thanks for the input guys. I’m going to bring this to the teacher and see what his thoughts are, because in the end it is him that would be grading it - whether it’s right or not, lol.

A more classic example could be, let us say that our purpose is to break a camel’s back.

In this case, the first ten thousand straws, let’s say, are of no utility, but the 10,001st is of great utility.

A more serious example could be with medicine. There is not much marginal utility to small increases from an ineffective dose, if remaining still under a minimally-effective dose; but considerably marginal utility to small increases from a minimally-effective dose.