6 Billion sure is a lot

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Merlin: "That may be the question in that other thread, but not this one. Go back there if you
want to argue about protester strategy. This thread is about whether $6B was wasted."

I'm not talking about protestor strategy. I'm talking about whether or not the money was
'wasted'.

The argument being put forth is that since A is less important than B, then money spent on A
is a waste.

That argument doesn't hold.

By that logic, then *everything* less important than B that gets funded is a waste. Since
most of what governments spend money on is less important than Human Rights issues being
held up as the example, then just about *everything* in the federal and provincial budgets is
a waste.

I hope we can agree that many of those things which are less important than Human Rights
issues do deserve funding, and are not a waste.

That kills the argument. Simply not being priority #1 does not make funding towards
priorities #2, #3, #4, etc wasted funding.

Now, I hope we can agree that items of higher priority should be funded. And I think we can
also agree that Human Rights related issues is pretty much a top priority and is *not* being
funded sufficiently.

So what then? Do you point to priority #325 (the Olympics) and say that's a waste? Well,
maybe. But what if there's money enough (and enough will) to fully budget the top #496
priorities, including Human Rights issues? Well, then I'd suggest any money spent on priorities
#497 and below can be considered 'waste'.

The idea that there is nothing lower on the Canada's priority for spending than the Olympics is
pure fallacy. There's obvious nationwide support for that spending. There's a lot of pork in the
federal budget which is *way* lower priority for Canada, and yet is receiving *way* more
funding.

The Resist Olympics camp wants to represent the Olympics as a zero-sum game, where
dollars spent on the Olympics are dollars out of the pocket of Human Rights issues. That's
simply untrue. There's money enough in the Federal and Provincial budgets to have our cake
and eat it too.

Money being spent on something the country really wants, like the Olympics, is not wasteful,
providing that all higher-priority items can be financed with the money not being spent on the
Olympics.

There's an awful lot of lower-priority expenditures, which are receiving Billions and Billions of
dollars, which nobody wants to talk about as wasteful.

There's something really wrong with that.

Keam: "No hype pro or con, but a objective look at Olympics and their costs."

I certainly think 'Fair and Balanced™' when I read that article.

It sets up 5 perfectly good straw-man arguments and then tears them apart with logical
fallacies, seriously suspect assumptions, and non-representative examples (many of which
don't apply at all to our winter games).

Some of my favourite quotes:

"The truth is that the local economy doesn't get much of a boost while those shiny new
athletic venues are being built. Many of the jobs created are filled by specialists who come in
from outside"

"For most foreign visitors, attending the Olympics is a proposition that costs thousands of
dollars. Demand is just not that great."

"In the end, the cost of maintaining unused buildings is so high that demolition is often the
only sane option."

"But for the most part, the athletic venues and the new transportation systems don't reshape
a host city for years to come. "

"It is true that many Olympic athletes were inspired by watching the Games, but most of
these people had athletic talent to begin with. For everyone else, the effect is more likely to
go in the opposite direction -- the Olympics can reduce participation in sports."

From the article

"Stefan Szymanski is a professor of economics at the Cass Business School at City University London and the author, most recently, of "Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports."

I've linked to a listing of his working papers and articles, most of them on economics and sport. His contact info is also there. Do feel free to tell him what you think T.

Who to believe?

Temple disagrees with Szymanski: "the Olympics can reduce participation in sports"

What about the last sentence in that paragraph? "In the U.K., national lottery funds traditionally devoted to local investment in sports facilities have been committed to funding the Olympics over the next 10 years. "

Google "bc gaming grant cuts sports" and tell me what you find. With the current provincial deficit, I doubt funding will return to the same levels soon.

Temple: "The argument being put forth is that since A is less important than B, then money spent on A is a waste."

Talk about straw men. I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm not sure CK is either.

Merlin: "The real question is whether that's the best use of the money; whether the money
could have been better spent elsewhere."

Temple: "The argument being put forth is that since A is less important than B, then money
spent on A is a waste."

Please substitute "is a waste" with "is better spent elsewhere" in my post above if it makes
you feel better. Personally I see those two ideas as the same.

You don't have to rob #325 to pay for #1, when there's money and will enough to fund the
top 496 priorities.

When #1 is not being funded, one can use the identical arguments to say that funds going
towards #2, #3, #4, etc "is better spent elsewhere", in other words 'a waste'.

However, that's a foolhardy argument, because, as soon as you rob #2 to pay for #1, your
identical argument applies, and says that we should rob #3 and lower to return the funding
for #2 to it's previous levels. If you continue that same argument, you wind up funding all
items until you run out of money, ordered by priority (priority being a combination of the
Country's willingness to pay for it and the absolute needs of the Country).

That same "money better spent" argument applies equally well to all items that can be
funded (including the Olympics), until you run out of money/will to fund the 497th priority.

The 'money better spent elsewhere' argument is an argument *for* funding Canada's higher
priorities, yet the people employing it aren't using it against Canada's lowest priorities,
they're ignoring all the extremely low priorities that receive massive amounts of funding.
Why? Three guesses.

Cherry picking the Olympics is a 'waste' of time, when there's enough money to fund it and
all the higher priorities. The money we should be targeting as "better spent" is the funding
going towards the lowest priorities.

But the real goal of the "Resist Olympics" camp isn't simply to help fund #1 (if it were they'd
target the ample low-hanging fruit, instead of the money that's spent and gone), their goal is
primarily to Resist the Olympics.

"their goal is primarily to Resist the Olympics."

We're headed off topic again, but anyway....

Actually, once you actually listen to their platforms rather than tell them how they are doing it wrong you find out their primary goal(s) are a fundamental revision of our current society, generally along the lines of a collectivist/egalitarian reworking of capitalism and democracy. The Olympics are simply a potent symbol of their perceived problems with Western culture and economics. It's no real surprise they're not choosing to work within the system, since it's that very system that they find so wanting in meeting their social/cultural expectations. An analogy would be to criticize anti-war protestors for not enlisting in the Army and going cap in hand to generals asking them to divert funds from armaments into better food and housing for POWs.

"Please substitute "is a waste" with "is better spent elsewhere" in my post above if it makes
you feel better. Personally I see those two ideas as the same."

That's a pretty narrow view. If I buy $10.00 of healthy groceries that last a couple of days rather than super-sizing my Mcfood lunch order, I get better value for my dollar, but the fast food still has some nutritional value.

Keam: "That's a pretty narrow view. If I buy $10.00 of healthy groceries that last a couple of
days rather than super-sizing my Mcfood lunch order, I get better value for my dollar, but the
fast food still has some nutritional value."

Who's got the narrow view?

Nobody's doubting that the big mac is a 'lower priority' than healthy food. But are you
suggesting that the country should *never* have their big mac? Even if they really, really
want one every couple decades? Bearing in mind that there's money enough to buy healthy
every day (even if we're not doing it yet), and still have that occasional big mac.

Desire is an important part in assessing value (naturally not the primary concern). Whether
that's in deciding what food to eat, or where to spend government funds, the will of the
country to spend its tax money on certain items is an important aspect. Denying that is
certainly narrow minded.

No doubt there's better uses for money than the Olympics, nobody's arguing that. What
nobody who is Resisting the Olympics wants to acknowledge is that there's huge sums of
money which is being spent on far less valuable pursuits, and that there's more than enough
money to pay for what's more valuable than the Olympics, and pay for the Olympics too.

--

Your previous post is telling. The primary reason to Resist Olympics isn't for human rights
issues, which is a #1 priority, it's Resisting Capitalism. Which I think is much lower on
Canada's priority than things like the Olympics.

Now, I think that's perfectly fine. Those motives line up well with Resisting the Olympics. I
see nothing wrong with that whatsoever, despite the fact it's 'not my cup of tea'. What I don't
like is when that camp exploits the less fortunate in order to give their message weight, while
completely ignoring several avenues for activism that could really help those less fortunate.

Sure, a change in our governing ethos could make it easier to help the less fortunate, but
practically that's like tearing a mountain down in order to bring food to somebody at the top.
There are much easier routes to that end that actually have a chance of working.

I don't mind that people Resist the Olympics. I mind that they are hypocrites.

"But are you suggesting that the country should *never* have their big mac? "

Nope. Pointing our your statement that you equal 'better spent elsewhere' to 'wasteful' is a position that doesn't hold up to even a poor analogy.

"The primary reason to Resist Olympics isn't for human rights issues, which is a #1 priority, it's Resisting Capitalism. Which I think is much lower on Canada's priority than things like the Olympics."

Their p.o.v. would probably equate resisting capitalism as a necessary part of bettering human rights. This is a perception that's gaining in popularity. Nicholas Sarkozy made much the same connection a week or two ago in a speech at Davos IIRC. From their perspective most Canadians are in ignorant complicity with the people creating the problems, so they are unlikely to want to change a system which benefits them at the expense of others who are less fortunate.

Most of their claims and aims are actually quite reasonable given their world-view. Because they are anathema to the middle-class, which directly benefits from the exploitation of developing nations and unsustainable natural resource use it's easy to paint them as unrealistic. But there's a reason many of the current 'great' thinkers of the world espouse viewpoints very similar to those voiced by anti-2010 protesters. I can't force you to educate yourself but here's some names you should take note of and read their work before you dismiss the people you disagree with. There's lots more but since it's probably a pointless exercise....

Peter Singer
Noam Chomsky
Ivan Illich
Wade Davis
Brian Eno
Stewart Brand
Karl Marx
James Kunstler
Jacques Derrida
Mahatma Gandhi

"What I don't like is when that camp exploits the less fortunate in order to give their message weight, while completely ignoring several avenues for activism that could really help those less fortunate."

What you fail to understand despite repeated attempts to point it out to you is that all those groups use a variety of means to move towards their goals. Your ego-driven need to be 'right' rather than informed makes your observations of activism worse than useless. You're actually perpetuating erroneous stereotypes that hinder their efforts. If you actually give a tinker's damn for people less fortunate lead, follow, or get out of the way.

No one can know the depth of the lake by standing on the shore.

"There are much easier routes to that end that actually have a chance of working."

And you know this how? Please provide some examples of your work and success in delivering successful advocacy efforts, or at the very least some examples beyond your 'say so' of initiatives without a component of protest and direct action that have led to long-lasting improvements in human rights and living conditions for people living in poverty.

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