Saturday, July 07, 2007

Politics, baseball, randomness, and wagering

And there’s winners, and there’s losers
But they ain’t no big deal
cuz the simple man baby pays for the thrills,
The bills and the pills that kill

Little Pink Houses, John Mellencamp

I usually do not wager on baseball games. However, with the football seasons over, I have been betting on the Chicago Cubs and White Sox everyday. It fits with the baseball fever from which I am suffering.

I have no qualms betting against the Cubs or White Sox should my analysis dictate that move. I am more loyal to my money than any sports team no matter what my passion for them. It is a good exercise too. One embraces the sheer randomness and contingency of the universe. Those we love and admire do not always deserve our wagers.

If people learned to view their politicians as they would view the sports team they should actually bet on, the political process would be a lot more beneficial and rational. That will not happen though. We all are subject to moral hazard. We can sometimes bet with no downside to our bets. If we hold a privileged position in the political process, somebody will always be there to bail us out when we lose.

That in itself is fuel for any political analyses. One should always ask whom the guaranteed winners would be going into any political policy or proposal. The smart money always analyzes things that way.

We can never achieve the view from nowhere. The next best thing is to consider life and politics a crap shoot—at least partially. After that comes altruism, cronyism, privilege etc. Whatever your favorite talking point or ideal might be.

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