Photo of the day

I’ve been watching sports for probably about 35 years or so of my 41.  Yesterday’s injury to Kevin Ware is probably about the worst thing I’ve ever seen live in a sporting event (as a big Redskins fan, I also was watching when Lawrence Taylor snapped Joe Theisman’s leg).  Ugh.  Here’s the sanitized version:

And if you really want it (and you shouldn’t, unless you are an orthopedic surgeon), here’s the link to the version with his tibia sticking 6″ out of his leg.  My God.

For what it’s worth, I was hoping to find a photo of the reaction of Duke’s Tyler Thornton during the game.  The first idea the TV viewer had anything was wrong was as the camera focused on Thornton– who was initially joyful after a made 3– but then had a look of horror come across his face and turned away.  You can actually see it perfectly here (if this video hasn’t been pulled yet).  Also, when watching this video, it’s amazing to realize that the original CBS shot actually shows Ware’s horrific injury, but I never noticed it the first time around as– like most anybody– I was focusing on the ball as it went through the basket.

And while I’m at it, worst injury I didn’t see happen live, Capitals’ goalie Clint Malarchuk takes a skate to the jugular.

Capitalism and the rules of the game

Very nice post by Matt Yglesias on the nature of capitalism.  It’s not that long, you should read the whole thing.  That said:

 Unfettered markets are fine except for activities that might involve the transportation or production of goods, the production or transmission of electricity or scientific knowledge, or access to the financial system. So actually when you think about it, that’s basically everything. The basic economic foundations of industrial capitalism as we’ve known them for the past 150 years or so have an activist state at their core. Building political institutions capable of doing these things properly is really difficult, and one of the main things that separates more prosperous places from less prosperous ones is that the more prosperous places have done a better job of building said institutions. There’s also the minor matter of creating effective and non-corrupt law enforcement and judicial agencies that can protect people’s property rights and enforce contracts.

The point is, it takes an awful lot of politics to get an advanced capitalist economy up and running and generating wealth. A lot of active political decisions need to be made to grow that pie. So why would you want to do all that? Presumably because pie is delicious. But if you build a bunch of political institutions with the intention of creating large quantities of pie, it’s obviously important that people actually get their hands on some pie. In other words, you go through the trouble of creating advanced industrial capitalism because that’s a good way to create a lot of goods and services. But the creation of goods and services would be pointless unless it served the larger cause of human welfare. Collecting taxes and giving stuff to people is every bit as much a part of advancing that cause as creating the set of institutions that allows for the wealth-creation in the first place.

I always like my NFL analogy.  Pro football is an amazing game in which a tremendous amount of coaching, hard work, split-second decision-making, athleticism, strength, brute force, etc., all come together to create a particular outcome.  But that game so beloved by Americans would be nothing without an incredibly complex rulebook and 7(!!) officials on the field at all times enforcing the rules.  How those rules are written and how those officials perform their jobs are incredibly important.  And the truth is a modern economy no more exists in a vaccuum than an NFL game would exist if you just threw out 22 guys and no rules or officials.  The idea that you can just tell “government to get out of the way” ultimately makes as much sense as expecting a fair (and entertaining) result of a football game where you just pulled all the officials off the field.

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