NEEDED: MORE SPORTS...

NEEDED: MORE SPORTS UNION MILITANCY. If you just read Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker review of the new book The Wages of Wins, about the economic analysis of sports, you'll miss the important American Prospect-y angle. The book clearly indicates that professional sports unions ought to be more militant. It argues that, contrary to what team owners tell you, imposing salary caps has very little impact on competitive balance. It also argues that, contrary to what sportswriters tell you, labor stoppages have very little impact on fan enthusiasm for the league (whichever league we're talking about) once the stoppage is resolved.

The upshot is that unions are correct on the merits to demand more salary flexibility and have less to lose than they imagine from going on strike. Interestingly, the book also indicates that NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL players are approximately twenty-five times more likely to go on strike than are typical union members despite actually being less militant than they ought to be.

--Matthew Yglesias

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