The Only Business That Really Needs a Union-the NFL

Posted on April 26th, 2011 by admin in Culture and Consumerism

We recently read a description of what the NFL Players Union wants from the owners of the NFL teams, according to the commissioner of the National Football League. (See: Wall Street Journal, 4-26-11, Op-Ed by Roger Goodell) Assuming his description is roughly accurate, the owners actively want a players union to exist, and the players don’t want one. But, according to Goodell, having no collective bargaining for all players would induce a frenzy of hyper-competition among teams and players with players, causing a massive rise in costs to owners, and major salary inequities among players.

Goodell’s description leads me to think professional sports  may be the only situation in USA where having a union is better than none! The reason: professional sports leagues most benefit from close games among roughly matched teams. So the owners’ intention is to maximize the probability any team can beat any other, which of course means the league desires equality of outcome and competes heavily for the inputs (players). This system is contrary to life and business, in which society seeks equality of opportunity, and supports competition to produce winners who achieve the best outcomes in that opportunity space. (We thank Dr. Ruth Fisher for her pointing out that this situation is treated in the economic theory of “clubs”, in which there is strong homogeneity among members).

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