A world where it takes **30** hours of minimum-wage work to pay the rent, is very different to a world where it takes **120** hours of minimum-wage work to pay the rent. It’s a factor of **4**—just half an order of magnitude—and it already means

- a leisurely life where you can eat out, drink beer, play music, chill with friends, basically a great mode of existence,
*versus* - a life where you would need to work two jobs in order to pay for kids and a car; if you keep just the one job, you can fight for overtime so you also have enough money for food.

A factor of **30** is the difference in median incomes between U$A and the DRC. Basically one-and-a-half orders of magnitude from richest to poorest. Just one order of magnitude is the difference between man and mouse (length). And in finance, errors of a few basis points can, for certain structured or levered positions, mean the difference between a good bet and a bad bet.

Parameters matter. Elasticities matter. Magnitudes matter. A lot. Think about that the next time you look at the coefficients in your linear regression.

Mostly things depend on the values of the parameters.

— isomorphismes (@isomorphisms) June 27, 2012

*See also:* the nearly-invisible but all-important left-hand scale of the chart you’re reading.