Sport obviously not being one of Snippa’s interests

We seem to need gods. As the old ones lose their credibility it seems we must substitute new ones to replace them – and if you are an economist the name of that god is often “free market”.

I am a fan of markets. I think they are a great invention, of the order of alphabets or wheels.

But markets are not gods. And when you make them into gods disaster is pretty well sure to follow. As we have seen.

As for “free” markets, there is no freedom except within limitations. If we want to play a game the first thing we must do is invent some rules we agree to follow. Otherwise we can’t play a game we will all enjoy. If I play chess I am free to chose whatever move I like, so long as I make a move that is allowed by the rules of chess. If I make a rule that isn’t allowed in those rules we’re not playing chess anymore. It is the rules of chess that make me free to play it.

So “free” markets aren’t actually markets any more. Without an agreed set of rules for the game “market” there is no market. And the set of rules we use for markets is called “regulations”.

So, if someone is for lifting the “burden” of regulations on markets I ask, “well, would you support the deregulation of football”? Let the players do what they want, let the “free marked” rule the game of football. After all, if “free” markets are self regulating, then so should games such as football be self regulating, surely. So, let’s deregulate football. Let the players do whatever they want. And what could possibly go wrong with that?

You’d end up with football, rugby union, rugby league, Australian Rules, NFL, Canadian football, 5 a side……wouldn’t that be a terrible problem.

28 comments on “Sport obviously not being one of Snippa’s interests

  1. He thinks markets were invented?

    No its was a word used to describe an existing process from when people traded trinkets around a camp fire.

  2. Seriously, what? He just cannot comprehend spontaneous order.

    Ugg can’t trade arrowheads with Dugg for meat around the campfire unless some authority has defined a set of rules? Is that it?

  3. “If I make a rule that isn’t allowed in those rules we’re not playing chess anymore.”

    Ugh, he *aaaaaaaalmost gets it* – freedom means we don’t all have to play the same game.

  4. As I understand it, football had very few rules until about 150 years ago. Get the ball between the sticks by using your feet and don’t worry about physical contact with other players.

  5. ‘there is no freedom except within limitations.’

    You could imagine this as a sign on commandant Murphy’s desk in the gulag, as he sentences another evil tax avoider to the hole.
    Or maybe on John McDonnell’s office wall…

  6. Nice straw man too. Rules in sport are constantly reviewed to ‘improve’ the game, make it easier/better to play or increasingly to watch. Rules which are deemed obsolete or burdensome are changed or removed. Spuds reductio ad absurdum argument is, like most of his stuff, bollocks. No one is really arguing to remove all regulation.

  7. Well, before the word market was used to describe all trading, buying and selling activity, markets were simply a physical place where farmers brought their excess produce, craftsmen their crafts and tradesmen their imports, and silversmiths helped everyone do their trades by providing carefully weighed pieces of silver that could be exchanged for anything.

    Those places still exist, except that the silversmith’s job has been taken over by the state.

  8. Who does he think makes the rules when kids trade marbles amongst each other in the playground?

    They just agree it amongst themselves. Spontaneous order.

  9. Another magnificent straw man and reductio ad absurdam – a market constrained by even the simplest rule is no longer a market.

  10. If Snippa ever played playground football – the idea is obviously unimaginable and he would be the last pick – I bet he would insist on correct observance of the offside rules

  11. Diogenes @ 1004: I’m currently in Oz and having watched AFL for the first time recently it looks like 150 years of rulemaking hasn’t constrained it much!

  12. @Jimmers

    “Rules in sport are constantly reviewed to ‘improve’ the game, make it easier/better to play or increasingly to watch. Rules which are deemed obsolete or burdensome are changed or removed.”

    As they are doing right this minute for cricket- they’ve bought in a sin bin.

  13. JS
    Saw the chap from the MCC explaining the umpire signals for sending a player to the sin bin. Would love to see a fast bowler sent to the sin bin for a dangerous bouncer that was a no-ball that went for 4 wides. The umpire would likely take off.

  14. Diogenes,

    “ I bet he would insist on correct observance of the offside rules”

    That will be the offside rule according to Spud, which may or may not bear some resemblance to the one written in the laws. My money’s on not.

  15. Dio

    “Will someone try to get a post that claims that work makes you free?”

    Someone did get through with that post once. It might even have been, if memory serves, an inspired poster called Amon Goth.

  16. Would love to see a fast bowler sent to the sin bin for a dangerous bouncer that was a no-ball that went for 4 wides

    About the only dangerous bouncer I can think of which merited being sent from the field would be one delivered about ten yards from the batsman. And to enter ultra-pedant mode a ball which goes for four (five) wides cannot be dangerous, at least not to the batsman.

    Anyway, I would be quite pleased to be sent off for bowling a bouncer. I didn’t think I was capable of bowling one.

  17. “So the only thing holding back the sub-Saharan Africans is a good set of rules.”

    That’s truer than you think. We live in a relatively high confidence society. If someone tells you something it’s likely true. If you’re given a promise, it’s likely it’ll be met. There are penalties for people who lie or break promises. Confidence is a valuable commodity, bhttp://www.timworstall.com/2010/06/ut it is earned not taken and you can achieve much more if people have confidence in you.
    We all know the rules, don’t we?
    Generally, the lower the confidence of the society the worse the society as a whole performs.
    Absence of rules.

  18. Rules which are deemed obsolete or burdensome are changed or removed.

    And this is a key difference between actual sport and Spud’s economics.

    The actual rules in most sports are mercifully brief, and where they are long is usually trying to close off loopholes. What they do not do is proscribe the tactics or manner of play. Teams are free to innovate wildly.

    Quite the opposite of “regulation economics”.

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