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March 01, 2010

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mark

if as pulis says shawcross hasnt got a bad bone in his body how comes this is not shawcross,s first bad tackle which has resulted in a broken leg (frannie jeffers two years ago ) and only 22 years old

Dave

Thought provoking stuff. Pulis was certainly deflecting the point Wenger made about the number of horrendous injuries not being a coincidence - the general approach of teams against Arsenal is to be 'reckless to the health of the individual'. Your thesis that the risk of such injuries being more likely in a state of high levels of competition (with increasingly higher finiancial stakes) seems very plausible.

As a Chelsea fan though, got to take issue with your sentence: "Individual coaches and players, trying to avoid defeat - which is the pinnacle of anyone’s ambition against the Arse - are compelled to adopt strategies which endanger players." I didn't detect any tongue in cheek so I'll restrict myself to saying that I doubt Didier Drogba doesn't try his upmost to thrash Arsenal everytime he plays you.

Luis Enrique

" ... because competition forces them to drive wages down"

Compared to what? What's happened to wages in all those non-capitalist countries? What data should we look at to test this idea - median real wages over time? Aren't your claims here diametrically opposed to the facts? Why do you describe capitalism as something that needs to be "sustained and legitimated" by "errors and biases" when casual inspection of the data suggests people are better off under capitalism than under any available alternative?


[this is not to say I think wages in e.g. UK are A-OK. But Sweden's capitalist, ain't it? And we'd still be capitalist if we did more to raise wages in the bottom quartile, we'd still be capitalist if we were left-wing capitalists, with economic policies of the sort that would be endorsed by by Bowles & Gintis, Arrow, Solow, Krugman, Akerloff, De Long etc.]

N.B some capitalists find the logic of competition leads them to raise wages

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704188104575083621904786264.html

chris

@ Luis - "Compared to what?" The relevant counterfactual would be a Roemerian one - a society in which workers own an equal share of the capital stock.
To say that we are better off now than in pre-capitalist societies merely raises the unanswerable question: could an egalitarian alternative to capitalism have produced faster or earlier growth?
And pointing to high wages in western economies means nothing, as the low-skill low-wage work has migrated eastwards.
(There's also the point that Marx's critique would be perfectly valid even if there were no alternative).

Rob, Atlanta

If Arsenal's football is more ballet to Stoke City's mosh pit approach (public perception), let's change the rules and say that you have to stay on your feet to tackle. It works very well for 5-aside football after all and Arsenal will win the Premier League every year. While we are at it, let's play touch Rugby at Twickenham and make the Super Bowl a flag football contest. Boxing could become a slapping contest and in ice hockey they could play with feather dusters instead of hockey sticks. The injury was horrendous, but it has to be accepted as an occupational hazzard. Stoke had a man sent off and lost the game - why would Pulis send his players out to get sent off and lose? There is a physical aspect to these sports and use of physicality is a real and legitimate tactic in football. When a player goes too far (intentionally or otherwise) they get sent off to the detriment of their team. The sending off was the reason Stoke lost rather than them holding back in tackles - because they did not change how they closed players down. Stoke are an honest and non-hypocritical team (compare Pulis's comments when Rory Delap had his leg broken compared to Arsenne Wenger's blindness to any bad tackles his players commit - Gallas etc) who play within the spirit of the game. If as a player or spectator, you are squeamish, there are many other sports to play or follow.

Luis Enrique

That's not a counterfactual, that's a counterimaginary

You're using the words "perfectly valid" in an unusual fashion if you'd still apply them to a critique whose conclusion is "capitalism drives down wages" in a world where wages are higher under capitalism than under any available alternative. It's about as "valid" as criticizing the most entertaining football team in the world for using a system that means they play dull football.

I really don't think you know what would happen to wages, should a Roemerian society be attempted. An imagined alternative based on a few theories might prove to bear as much relation to reality as what Bowles calls "utopian capitalism" does to actual capitalism. When it comes to wage determination, the battle between worker and capitalist over the share of output is dwarfed by changes in the level of productivity

Phil

but what's the solution to this endemic problem - force clubs to hold ownership stakes in each other, so that they stop nailing each other's (effectively, their own) assets?

Institute end-of-month penalties for yellows and reds? That might just encourage more diving. Penalise clubs per match missed by the players they injure? Unworkable.

Force clubs to all chip into social security? It's unclear whether margins are good enough to handle that, but certainly the clubs that tend to employ thugs are the ones that couldn't afford a rise in premiums they cause (but this just encourages Roy Keanes to be hired by the big clubs).

I wonder whether the FA couldn't implement a 'club multiplier' on player bans, such that clubs building up high foul counts will see their players' sentences increased accordingly.

I simply don't know enough about refereeing to know whether it can simply come down to referees needing to sense where things are going and calm them down, pulling play up for the more minor fouls before pressure builds up.

And at the end of the day, Arsenal trains players to be swift on the turn and down the line - not to beef up. And I say this all as an Arsenal fan.

BenP

Wages may have gone up (in places) in spite of Capitalism not because of it due to workers agency.

It becomes clearer when you look at the distance between the top and average wages, a massive fall in the division of income for the average and below.

Alex

"Instead, their argument is that when playing Arsenal, coaches tell players to snap into tackles, and to deny their opponents time and space."

In other words, Wenger doesn't want other managers to tell their players to "snap into tackles". This means Wenger's argument is more akin to an argument against centralized control (i.e. state planning) than Marx's critique of capitalism.

Phil

Alex - surely Wenger is calling for a centralised crackdown on bosses telling their employees to play rough & dirty to beat another incorporate body consisting of a boss+employees?

Or he believes that if he makes the point enough times, managers will realise what they're doing and stop risking in part or in entirety, the careers of 19 year olds with only <15 years of professional life ahead of them...

John Terry's Mum

Rob Atlanta in I think shares a bias common to many of those situated in the US where the dimwitted musclebound Jock rule the schools.

A belief that might is right, the physical force / bullying / weight of muscle are a moral argument in themselves.

To extend his mentality a little too far we could say "Of course the IDF deserves to batter the Palestinians: They are a much better bigger and better army!"

John Terry's Mum

Another interesting collorary with Marx is the self-defeating nature of Pulis' capitalism.

If he and his ilk are successful, the best of these namby-pamby foreign players will withdraw to the relative safety of the Spanish league - destroying the EPL's technical level and therefore the spectacle. In five years it will be a contest between teams of British cloggers battering each other and a top four of say Stoke, Blackburn, Birmingham and Sunderland.

Good honest British and Foreign second-raters kicking sh*te out of each other like the 70s when the crowds were half what they are now. Which no doubt excites Rob in Atlanta.

Rob, Atlanta

Rob in Atlanta is an Englishman through and through - so you are hoist with your own petard, Mrs Terry.

Everyone should on this page should really just extract their bonce from their rectum and stop trying to show off.

The capitalist argument proposed is ironic in that the Stoke team actually are the poor men of the premier league and were taking on the super rich of the Arsenal.

Paul Sagar

Yeah but Marx was proper sound.

Wenger is an insufferable tit.

Paul Sagar

"To say that we are better off now than in pre-capitalist societies merely raises the unanswerable question: could an egalitarian alternative to capitalism have produced faster or earlier growth?"

Hang on Chris, isn't the marxist answer - the answer Marx himself would have given - "no".

On the grounds that capitalism is a necessary stage of development; we only get from pre-capitalism to communism via capitalism - which Marx was perfeclty clear he thought to be the best system yet tried. After all, that's the nature of Hegelian progress; things can only get better.

Luis Enrique

an economist suggests how to reduce such injuries:

http://bluematter.blogspot.com/2010/03/internalizing-externalities-how-to.html

CharlieMcMenamin

It's difficult to keep a straight face when the former employer of such 'robust' and 'committed' players as Martin Keown and Patrice Viera complains about the tackling of other teams. Your analogy breaks down on this simple fact.

In reality, Arsenal are simply the equivalent of a capitalist firm which has invested in the wrong balance of machinery and skills - a sub optimal modernisation programme if you like - and now wants to raise import barriers or otherwise restrict the competitive advantage of firms which have got the mix right.

Tim Worstall

"Capitalism, he says, leads to low wages and exploitation not because individual capitalists are bad people but because competition forces them to drive wages down:"

Eh? This is one of the bits that Marx actually got right. As long as there are capitalists competing for the profits that can be made by hiring labour then rises in productivity will lead to rises in wages.

It's only if capitalists are able to become monopsonists that they will be able to drive wages down.

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Rob, Atlanta

You could argue that Pulis was engaged in a Marxian rant by telling the manager of the capitalist elite (Mr Wenger) that he "does not know my players". In other words, the elite do not know the workings of the minds of the common man because they have not had to suffer the suppression that capitalism forces on the unfortunate. Or maybe, Pulis recognises the futility of relying on either the forces of capitalism or government and empowers his team to get on with the job at hand to achieve personal success irrespective of how the environment is governed. Theses on what governs the ability of individuals to achieve what they want to in life really only provide excuses for failure of the individual. Everyone can find an angle to support their arguments. However everyone has the option to at least try to achieve their goals without blaming government or lack of it for their failure. It is the collective power of people actually trying in life that drives any nation irrespective of government.

RH


As usual an interesting piece, your but beg to differ.

Why is that Arsenal players suffer broken legs more than players from other teams? Are the forces of competition not at play when other teams are busy kicking the football?

The argument by some commentators in justification that football is a contact sport is neither rational nor attractive. What is the point of having rules by which the game ahd to be played? For instance, sliding two footed tackles are penalised because of the injuries they are likely to cause. Players have to show restraint on the pitch. It is wrong to compare football with boxing. Football is a game and not a violent past time; it should not descend into a blood sport.

RH

Resubmitted with corrections please.

As usual an interesting piece yours, but beg to differ.

Why is it that Arsenal players suffer broken legs more than players from other teams? Are the forces of competition not at play when other teams are busy kicking the football?

The argument by some commentators in justification that football is a contact sport is neither rational nor attractive. What is the point of having rules by which the game has be played? For instance, sliding two footed tackles are penalised because of the injuries they are likely to cause. Players have to show restraint on the pitch. It is wrong to compare football with boxing. Football is a game and not a violent past time; it should not descend into a blood sport.

Rob, Atlanta

The point is that in football there are rules in play. Shawcross most likely thought that he could get to the ball and attempted to make the challenge in a legal manner (from in front without studs up). He wasn't able to complete the challenge as intended. He was sent off and Stoke lost the game. I don't think the player had a lot of time to think about what he was about to do. Pulis was merely defending his player (as any good capitalist manager or communist leader would) from a basis of first hand knowledge of the player. Wenger is a supremely intelligent man who was able to put in an emotional and simultaneously calculated statement in his post match interview. Pulis really only responded in an emotional reaction - so give over with all this Capitalist Lackey nonsense. It is an interesting analogy for a political symposium like this, but has no basis in reality what so ever. So let's leave the academics to their games and leave the football talk back on the football blogs.

John Terry's Mum

Rob Atlanta

"I don't think the player had a lot of time to think about what he was about to do".
Was that also the case on thiis occasion?
http://content.thisis.co.uk/sentinel07/homepage/ad_panel/sentinel_backpage.pdf
(bottom of page)

"basis in reality" is a highly subjective term.

Alex

"In reality, Arsenal are simply the equivalent of a capitalist firm which has invested in the wrong balance of machinery and skills - a sub optimal modernisation programme if you like - and now wants to raise import barriers or otherwise restrict the competitive advantage of firms which have got the mix right."

No, Arsenal are like Mom and Pop's Bakery. They make the best damn bagels, but are being forced out of business by a conglomerate.

"Yeah but Marx was proper sound.

Wenger is an insufferable tit."

I disagree with this claim, but even if it were true, I would rather be an "insufferable tit" than be the defunct economist that begot Joe Stalin.

Leigh Caldwell

Oddly enough, my association was not with Marx but another dead economist:

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”

Maybe to become a famous economist it's less important to actually discover anything than to come up with a memorable way to restate the word "incentives".

Igor Belanov

Rob in Atlanta is right. Shawcross' challenge was not a particularly dangerous one, he neither jumped in, used two feet or showed his studs. Ramsey was merely very unlucky to suffer a freak injury.

Wenger is an accomplished hypocrite. His sides have seen some very dirty and indisciplined players as well as raising the level of gamesmanship with timewasting, feigning injury and constant haranguing of officials.

The aim of his outbursts, like those of other managers such as Ferguson and Mourinho, is to put pressure on referees to the extent where they are very cautious when giving decisions against his team.

Alex

"surely Wenger is calling for a centralised crackdown on bosses telling their employees to play rough & dirty to beat another incorporate body consisting of a boss+employees?"

Well, sure. But such "centralised crackdown" is known as regulation. Now, I'm no Marx expert, but I'm fairly sure Marx wasn't advocating a better regulated form of capitalism.

John Terry's Mum

Doesn't this debate just show the stupidity and irrationality of humans - even highly educated ones?

For those who dislike Wenger / Arsenal / squeamishness then Shawcross too is a victim of a freak accident.

Whereas Arsenal supporters and other forms of southern softies see themselves as victims of a conspiracy.

I'm sure they'd deny it, but I'd bet that Rob Atlanta / Igor's ideological position was fixed in advanced by antipathy to Wenger's Arsenal (support for a different team?)

stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

Tony pulis capitalist lackey.. He-he-he :)

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