Wednesday, August 31, 2005

There but for .......

From the "Baseball Toaster" in Alemeda, California:

The Juice Blog, 30 August 2005

“Major League Bling”

by Scott Long

“I'm generally not a basher of athletes and how much they make, as I realize it's all about them free markets. (Do I sound like Adam Smith?)”

Apparently, the subject of Scot Long’s piece is a Mr Dwight Gooden, a former baseball star, who is having trouble with habits he has picked up that bring him to the attention of the ‘boys in blue’. These excitements become news items in the tabloids and cause much ‘tutt tutting’ among respectable folk, who previously fawned and fed the ego’s of yesterday’s sportsmen and women, and made them into ‘celebrities’ in the usual intrusive and vulgar manner.

When the crowds stop cheering and the hero retires, the main sparkle of their young lives has gone, forever. The nearest they get back to it is in a haze of memories, well watered by whatever gives them relief. Sad, but it’s an everyday story and not just one for great athletes. All kinds of people ‘succeed’ and then falter; and drink or drug themselves to death; slide into depression and end up on the street, sans family, sans friends and sans hope, and in Dwight Gooden’s case, sans a ‘Beamer’.

Scott brings Adam Smith into the story, more I think as an attention piece: think wages, think markets, think Adam Smith. It makes a good line and has the advantage of being a recognized name – even, perhaps, a celebrity, albeit from the 18th century. Markets do not provide happiness, not guarantee a happy ending. They provide the means only to whatever you believe will bring happiness, or at least respite from hunger, thirst, cold and fatigue (try living without respite). What we do with the means we acquire from markets is another story altogether.

People drop into the pits from all points in the income range – knock on any door in any street in any country and you may find someone on their way to the pits, some few even recovering from their trip to the pits, and many who know nothing about the pits and never will.

The Dwight Gooden story is only one such story that could be told.


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