We have compared the world maps of high corruption with world maps of high living standards in previous posts. The relationship should be obvious. Here we are addressing corruption itself, an insidious subject that too many of us prefer to ignore, as we hope to show.
Dwellers in North America and Europe tend to complacency about corruption; looking at the latest headline about crooked politicians, they still see themselves far above most of the rest of the world’s corruption and feel entitled to the accompanying living standard. Pride though, we have been warned, goeth before a fall.
So, tell: How honest are big bucks sports such as basketball, football, baseball, soccer, cycling and tennis? Are they honest and clean or are they corrupt and hypocritical? What do you believe?
The rest of this is what we believe; you don’t have to agree. We think first, that this is important; you don’t have to agree with that, either. We’ll start with a question:
With say, $5 million at stake, whom would you trust first: a tennis player, a businessman or a politician? And next, why? Maybe you want to consider that for a minute.
All three are the same species, with the same basic makeup. That species is self-interested and highly competitive. And all three strive for big bucks. So, why do we look at them differently? Mainly we suppose, because we like to fool ourselves. Pro sports are big business, with a strong profit motive. Players make millions. The gamblers make millions, too. And we are supposed to accept that it’s all clean, nobody uses steroids or blood doping or any other available enhancers? Sure.
Remember cyclist Lance Armstrong? An American doctor brought about his falustration resulting from never being able to nail him with a failed drug test. But Armstrong has said and it is well known that all the top cyclists are dopers. Then, there’s football or what we Americans call soccer. It’s the biggest pro sport in the world, from what we hear. And depending upon whom you choose to believe, it’s pure as a church or crooked as a dog’s hind leg. You may read about that. And you may join a long time sportswriter as he loses his illusions . Reality as the kids say, really sucks. But it’s still reality.
Nobody wants to write about how all this at the top, worms its way into the school sports that support the pro structure. Not writing about it doesn’t make it vanish, though; it just lets us ignore it. That is called in more honest circles, hypocrisy.
What all this leads up to is, America — and Europe and the rest of The Economists’ “rich world” that became so with a low level of corruption, has become more corrupt. The people have dumped the religion that insisted upon honesty and there is no replacement; it’s now every man for himself. Corruption pervades politics, few try to deny that. Business does not look so corrupt only because all expect businessfolk to reflect the bottom line by definition. And sports aren’t suppose to be business, but they are business regardless. That is a corrupt society.
Not so thoroughly corrupt perhaps as the rest of the world has been and remains. But we’re getting there. And if you’re paying attention, so is our standard of living. We deserve no less.
And the Queen of England’s race horse failed a drug test this week …