Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ideology and Profit

A standard leftist critique of the world in which we live is that it's entirely run by money, that the powers that be only ever care about profits, etc.

But nothing could be further from the truth. I see ideology trump the profit motive every day, in both big things and small.

One of the clearest, though obviously not the most important, examples of this phenomenon can be observed in team sports.

What is the most obvious way for team owners and leagues to earn more money? The answer's simple: making teams monoethnic. Believe me, the Fighting Irish would be a lot more popular than they are now if all their players were actually Irish. It wouldn't even matter if they ever won anything. The Soviet Union never had a hope of winning the soccer World Cup when I was a kid, yet the streets literally went empty every time the national team played an important game. People will root for their own no matter how much they suck for the same reason that parents routinely sacrifice the world for their mediocre or imbecile kids instead of dutifully supporting other people's little geniuses.

A profit-maximizing setup for the NFL would have a Black team, a Mulatto team, an Irish team, an Italian team, a couple of southern White teams, a Midwestern White team, etc. Such a league would be so much more popular than the current one that it would actually take money away from most other leasure-oriented industries. Music, movies, travel, hiking - everything except for porn and hard drugs would suffer a severe downturn in popularity. If you know of any other types of entertainment that could reliably outcompete simulated race war in the public mind, I would like to hear of it.

And yet team owners are completely powerless to change the laws that ban the monoethnic setup, laws that are clearly depriving them of historic profits. So much for the power of money to influence policy.

Some would say that the reason why the reigning ideology effectively bans monoethnic professional teams is to minimize ethnic conflict. These people are idiots. The easiest way to minimize ethnic conflict is to have monoethnic countries, and the reigning ideology is obviously against that. Also, experience shows that tournaments involving ethnic teams don't have to lead to any violence at all. During my Soviet soccer-watching childhood Dynamo Tbilisi's roster was 100% Georgian, Ararat's was 100% Armenian, the Ukrainian teams were overwhelmingly Ukrainian, etc., and yet ethnic conflict across the old USSR couldn't be more dormant at that time. This was mostly due to the post-WWII Soviet state's discouragement of mass population movements. As a result, the average citizen still lived in the roughly monoethnic environemnt of his ancestors.

If the people who run things in the modern West want to discourage ethic strife, they're obviously tackling the wrong end of the problem.

By the way, I only picked sports to illustrate my point because it was the first example that occured to me. In pretty much every other industry ideology lords over the profit motive 9 times out of 10.

The easiest way to make money in Manhattan real estate would be to bribe local politicians to relocate housing projects to Whocaresville and to build luxury towers in their place. Yet this would make Manhattan even less NAM-mmy than it already is, so it's ideologically unacceptable.

Any US airline could increase its profits if, like Asian ones, it started hiring only young, attractive women as stewardesses. And yet they're powerless to change the rules that don't allow them to do that.

Thousands of firms could become more efficient if, when hiring, they relied on actual IQ tests instead of on imperfect proxies like what colleges applicants went to. But that's been declared illegal too.

And so on. The idea that money is the biggest motivating factor on the big stage is naive.

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