Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alchian on golf 

Having mentioned Armen Alchian today, and having just yesterday received some old articles from a colleague who is retiring, I thought I would scan and share Alchian's "Of Golf, Capitalism, and Socialism." This was originally written in 1977 as an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
A puzzle has been solved. Despite their intense interest in sports, no golf courses exist in the Socialist-Communist bloc. Why is golf solely in capitalistic societies? Because it is not merely a sport. It is an activity, a lifestyle; a behavior,a manifestation of the essential human spirit. Golf's ethics, principles, rules and procedures of play are totally capitalistic. They are antithetical to socialism. Golf requires self-reliance. independence, responsibility, integrity and trust. No extenuation is� granted misfortune, mistake or incompetence. No second chances. Like 1ife, it is often unfair and unjust, with uninsurable risks. More than any other sport, golf explo1ts the whole capitalist spirit.
The rest is here. Reflecting on this, John Bunzel a few years ago related the story of former Detroit Lion Alex Karras, who said "My best score is 103, but I've only been playing 15 years."

There's hope for me yet. And given the sunny day and the end of classes for me this week I take my leave.

Thanks to Bill L. for the scannable piece. I will note a html copy from Emilio Pacheco.

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