We have started Jonah Goldberg’s new book and it looks interesting. It is nice to see him fully supporting capitalism. As he is a philosopher at heart it is not surprising that his solution to the Miracle or Great Enrichment will be philosophical.
Starting Jonah’s book got us back to something that has been nagging us about capitalism: sports corruption. Jim Geraghty has been on that beat here and elsewhere. Capitalism is great because it creates income that allows individuals and society to fix problems. It also give folks the time and income to engage in activities other than work including being sports fans. Mostly, creating sports fans is great. Sports fans, however, are tribal for both sports and specific teams which is a topic near to Jonah’s heart. Thus, we sports fans will pay money and sometimes surrender our freedoms to get and keep our sporting events. Sports teams blackmail cities and states to get them to build stadiums. International events like the Olympics and the World Cup blackmail countries. Giving into blackmail seems to be a good move politically. Many folks are upset that the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar and played in November-December when leagues are in full swing rather than the usual late spring early summer when players are off.
Sidebar: The US finished second to Qatar in the voting to host the World Cup. Our allegations of corruption sound a bit hollow given that the US might get the World Cup if the allegations are proven. Of course, that award would benefit certain tribes and cost others. End Sidebar.
So capitalism creates the wealth and income necessary to create billions of sports fans. Increasing income and wealth times billions of fans makes for corruption opportunities. Teams and human nature leads to tribal behavior means there are large benefits for one tribe and the costs are diffused among all the other tribes. Thus, sports corruption is going to get worse as the world continues to get richer. We don’t think the Venezuela model is a solution. We can’t throw the capitalism baby out with the bathwater. Perhaps Jonah will recommend a corruption solution that fits sports too.