Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

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175102_600 February 6, 2016

A baseball player made entirely out of their statistics

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If capitalism were a batter in a baseball game, it would be clear to all that it just struck out.

Let me explain. . .

The first strike was “just deserts.” Capitalism promises that everyone gets what they deserve. However, the rising level of economic (income and wealth) equality beginning in the mid-1970s demonstrated that not everyone was getting what they deserve. No matter how measured (e.g., in terms of CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio or the top 1 percent or top-90-to-bottom-10 ratio), the obscene levels of inequality we’ve seen over the course of the past decade are simply impossible to understand or justify as a form of “just deserts.”

The second strike was the worst economic crisis since the first Great Depression. The problem of capitalist instability, especially the exaggerated boom-and-bust cycle of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries was supposed to have been solved. They even gave it a name: the Great Moderation. And then we were faced with—and forced to suffer the effects of—the crisis of 2007-08 and the onset of the second Great Depression. Neither conventional nor unconventional economic policies were able to stem the tide, and the negative consequences of both the severe crisis and the lopsided recovery will be felt by the majority of people for years (perhaps even decades) to come.

And now strike three: if capitalism doesn’t (and can’t) deliver “just deserts” and stability, at least it can produce economic growth and rising living standards. At least more stuff—an immense accumulation of commodities—will be produced. Or so the third claim goes. But now, according to the International Monetary Fund (in an advance chapter [pdf] from next week’s World Economic Outlook), the prospects for renewed economic growth are growing dimmer and dimmer. Already before the crisis, potential output growth in advanced economies was slowing (although it was rising in emerging market economies). Shortly after the crisis hit in September 2008, economic activity collapsed, and more than six years after the crisis, growth is still weaker than was expected before the crisis. Now, the IMF argues, potential growth has declined in both advanced and emerging market economies in the aftermath of the crisis and is expected to decline even further compared with pre-crisis rates.

Reduced prospects for potential growth in the medium term have important implications for policy. In advanced economies, lower potential growth makes it more difficult to reduce still-high public and private debt. It is also likely to be associated with low equilibrium real interest rates, meaning that monetary policy in advanced economies may again be confronted with the problem of the zero lower bound if adverse growth shocks materialize. In emerging market economies, lower potential growth makes it more challenging to rebuild fiscal buffers. For all economies, a total factor productivity growth rate that remains below precrisis rates will slow the rise in living standards relative to the precrisis years.

In a real baseball game, the umpire standing behind the plate would declare: “Strike three, you’re out!”

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152465_600 August 16, 2014

And one more for good measure. . .

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Marvin Miller RIP

Posted: 28 November 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Marvin Miller led Major League Baseball, kicking and screaming, from slavery into the modern era.

When Mr. Miller was named the executive director of the association in 1966, club owners ruled much as they had since the 19th century. The reserve clause bound players to their teams for as long as the owners wanted them, leaving them with little bargaining power. Come contract time, a player could expect an ultimatum but not much more. The minimum salary was $6,000 and had barely budged for two decades. The average salary was $19,000. The pension plan was feeble, and player grievances could be heard only by the commissioner, who worked for the owners.

By the time Mr. Miller retired at the end of 1982, he had secured his place on baseball’s Mount Rushmore by forging one of the strongest unions in America, creating a model for those in basketball, football and hockey.

Here’s Tommy Bennett’s characterization from earlier this year:

Marvin Miller is a throwback to a past era—maybe two or three eras ago. It’s rare these days to hear a well-dressed economist refer to himself as a lifelong “trade unionist.” It’s rare to hear someone earnestly compare the federal minimum wage to the minimum salary in baseball.

And here’s Miller himself:

 

Miller has still not been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.