a chicken and egg problem

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a chicken and egg problem

cliché A situation in which it is difficult or impossible to tell which of two things comes (or should come) first, as each one seems to cause the other to occur. A reference to the ancient paradox, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" A chicken is required to lay an egg, but that chicken must have hatched from an egg to begin with. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It's a chicken and egg problem. It is a chicken-and-egg problem for many would-be sellers—you need inventory in order to start making money, but you need money to start accumulating inventory. Did the company falter because our biggest clients left, or did our clients leave because they could sense instability within our company? For the time being it's something of a chicken and egg problem.
See also: and, chicken, egg, problem
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a chicken-and-egg problem

an unresolved question as to which of two things caused the other.
This expression comes from the traditional riddle: ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’
See also: problem
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
(Troen and Boles wrestle with this dilemma partly by proposing intermediate ways to infuse existing schools with some of the characteristics of Millennium Schools.) Moreover, there is a chicken-and-egg problem. We need Millennium Schools to attract more good teachers, but plenty of good teachers are a prerequisite for having many successful Millennium Schools.
In response to Teichmann's article (1991) proposing that the chicken-and-egg problem is no problem since "chicken" is a Sorites term (permitting us to say both that no chicken is born of non-chicken and that chickens have not always existed), Sorensen argues that the chicken egg must have come before the chicken because "a particular organism cannot change its species membership during its lifetime" (Sorensen 1992, p.
Sorensen's attempt to solve the chicken-and-egg problem relies on a simple and atomistic conception of the egg.