Competition and Fairness

I’m going to relate politics and economics to sports with just a couple of analogies.

First, I’m re-reading Chicagonomics (which I promise to have a full review up this coming Friday) and the author stresses incessantly the importance of using government policy to make society more economically equal. He quotes original Chicago economists being of the opinion that egalitarianism is not only important for itself, but to make sure that society remains competitive. On one page, the author even goes so far to say that egalitarianism through progressive taxation is the only hope for sustaining a competitive free market order (because otherwise resources would concentrate in the hands of just a few would-be monopolists).

For the first analogy, then, consider the year that MVP Stephen Curry and the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors are enjoying. They just improved to 22-0 to start the season, and are on a roll with a 26 game regular season winning streak (dating back to the end of last season). If the likes of Lanny Ebenstein (author of Chicagonomics) gained control of the NBA, Golden State would be considered monopolists and it would be imperative, in Ebenstein’s view, that the league snatch some of the wins from Golden State to redistribute to other, less successful teams, in the name of keeping the league competitive. He would say that the gain experienced by the teams on the bottom would outweigh the losses experienced by the team at the top, so that the league would go on without losing much efficiency. I think that’s obviously immoral and nonsensical, but perhaps I’m wrong.

The second analogy will be in the political arena. Bernie Sanders has made strides in the polls (and let me give you some inside baseball information about kids on college campuses: they adore idolize him as a savior) for his egalitarian statements, considering the top 1 percent as greedy exploiters of the remaining 99 percent of helpless victims. If Sanders gained control of the NBA, Golden State would be castigated as unscrupulously greedy, and Stephen Curry would be looked upon in the same unfavorable light as the Koch brothers! Needless to say, they’d be forced (in the name of compassion, that is) to finance less successful team’s wins.

I love using sports as metaphors to real life (because let’s face it, sports are a life of their own). I hope these two made it clear why I oppose egalitarianism, whether it’s in the name of preserving competition or fostering fairness in society. What do you think? Did I go wrong anywhere, or is there anything you might add? Let me know in the comments.


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