We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“It is often wrongly assumed that the free market is always on the side of life’s heavy hitters. But sport gives plenty of examples that it is the market which corrects received wisdom in favour of untrumpeted stars. The internet has done something similar in publishing.”

What Sport Tells Us About Life, by Ed Smith. Pages 88-89.

Brian Micklethwait had thoughts about this short and excellent book a few months ago. A good book to read as the Ashes cricket series continues with the second Test at Lord’s starting later today. Bliss.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Cricket

    This the season when Samizdata postings start getting really, and I do mean really really, boring.


    Well, their choice I guess.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    CountingCats, well, there is nothing more boring than readers going on about how boring X or Y is, either!

  • While it’s interesting to read about Cricket tests, it brings up the question: When do you stop testing, and begin production?

    The process seems to be a lot like software development in that all reports are written in the language of the program being developed, which is fine. I think we should all be fluent in more than one language. I, for example, can get along in English and French, and to a lesser extent, Chinese, German, Fortran, and Basic.

    Thanks to the fine folks at Samizdata, I’m also learning Cricket, which seems to be a variant of English. Keep up the excellent work guys, I find it fascinating.

  • veryretired

    There’s a great line about cricket at the end of an odd little movie called “B Monkey”.

    Many people, especially those opposed to the idea, think that the point of a free market, and the sole objective of its advocates, is money.

    And, since money is the root of all evil, according to the corrupted conventional recitation of the old axiom, the true motivation of free marketers is merely greed, and not a worthy purpose, like the “public good”.

    But this superficial analysis is, not surprisingly, wrong on two very important points.

    First, the essential element in the idea of the free market is the “free” part, not the market. The market is merely the canvas upon which the painter paints, or the material from which the sculptor fashions his vision.

    The fundamental moral question regarding any human activity is—is this a freely chosen activity with the goal of creating truly human value, or a labor undertaken under the yoke of coercion whose goal is imposed rather than chosen.

    The first describes the action of a free man or woman engaged in producing a human value based on their own talents and purposes.

    The latter describes the burden of the slave, so aptly portrayed by Lincoln in one of his most famous speeches.

    It is typical of the verbal slight of hand that collectivism routinely employs that those who are so actively engaged in limiting freedom would attempt to define the point of conflict as greed instead.

    And that brings us to the second element—the market.

    Oh, what an inscrutable and mysterious thing it is, this soulless mechanism which somehow chooses winners and losers among those engaged in commerce, elevating some to great wealth and influence, relegating others to only modest success, and casting aside many who try, but fail, to master its complex demands.

    Somewhere, on a day unknowable in humanity’s distant past, a hunter with an injured leg sat in front of his hut and fashioned a new spear or two. When the hunting party returned and brought him a portion of the meat, he gave the generous hunter one of the spears.

    Once upon a time, two women went out to gather berries and herbs. One was fortunate to discover a full bush of ripe berries. The other found a clutch of fresh bird’s eggs. When they met back in the village, the berry finder traded some of her find for a few of the eggs found by the other woman.

    These simple examples were the beginnings of the great mysterious market, and so it remains, in essence, to this very day.

    The “economy” is nothing more than people living, working, exchanging, raising their families, trying to make their way in this vale of tears.

    When someone says “I value freedom, all I want to do is manage the economy to make it more fair” or “more compassionate”, what that means is, “I want to control everything you do.”

    What is the “free market”? It is life, unregimented and uncontrolled, limited only by rational rules against force and fraud.

    Why care about it? Because there is a difference between living as a free, independent human being, and existing as a zombie, compelled by the whims of another.

    Anyone who can’t, or won’t, understand that difference is already one of the latter.

    Lay down and die, then, and let those who desire to live as human beings get on with our lives.

  • Billlll wrote:

    While it’s interesting to read about Cricket tests, it brings up the question: When do you stop testing, and begin production?

    What I don’t understand is why the five-day games are called test matches, but the one-day games aren’t called quiz matches.

    That, and the “try” in rugby. You haven’t just tried to score, you’ve succeeded. It ought to be called a “success”. 🙂

  • Sunfish

    Cricket: some day it will evolve to being like baseball only without math.

    But could someone tell me what a tea interval is? There does not appear to be much tea involved.

  • Jonathan,

    Sorry, my comment was meant to be a joke, referring to a previous discussion where this topic was raised.

    Problem with writing is that there is no way to convey tone of voice.

  • Kevin B

    What I don’t understand is why, when one American baseball team plays another American baseball team, it’s called the World Series.

    Oh, and Ted. In case you weren’t joking… One day, while playing football, (i.e what americans call soccer), at Rugby school, one William Webb Ellis picked up the ball, ran the length of the pitch and dived into the goal.

    He then asked the schoolmaster: “Was that a goal Sir?”

    The master replied: “No Ellis. But it was a jolly good try.”

  • The World Series is named after the magazine which once sponsored it, a now defunct magazine named – The World.

  • Kevyn Bodman

    I have heard a different explanation to Kevin B’s about why a ‘try’ is a try in rugby, although his explanation is plausible, and more economical than the one I have heard.

    Grounding the ball on or over the line entitles the team to ‘try’ for a goal, i.e.to attempt to kick the ball over the bar between the posts.If the kick is successful the result is a goal.
    A goal is currently worth 7 points, 5 points for grounding the ball plus 2 for the successful kick.

    But a penalty goal, or a drop goal is only worth 3 points.

    It is many years since I have been able to get to Rodney Parade on a match day, but the scoreboard there used to be divided into Goals, Tries, Points.

    I wonder if it still is.

  • Kevyn Bodman

    The market for cricketers, American footballers and rugby players doesn’t just reflect the contribution made to the side’s success; it reflects the players’ abilities to bring in customers at the gate.
    Fewer people will pay to see the world’s finest tight-head prop than will pay to see a jinking centre.
    Fewer people will pay to watch a top bowler than a top batsman.
    And some players have a presence that adds to their value even though their performances might not be so great.
    Andrew Flintoff’s stats are certainly not world class. In Test cricket only two ‘5 fors’, a bowling average over 30, and a batting average only just over 30.
    Yet he is widely perceived to be, and have been, a key player.And people pay to watch him.

    It will be interesting to see how the market for players in the IPL develops as it matures, as teams balance the ‘bums on seats’ with the likelihood of true match-winning performances. Sometimes they coincide in the same player, sometimes they don’t.

  • Kevin B

    Kevyn, the “Jolly good try” story is apocryphal, (ie total nonsense), and the origin of ‘try’ is lost in the mists of time, but your version is as good as any.

    Ball games have been around for ever, (including a Roman version of Rugby), but it was the Victorion passion for codifying the rules of the various games and exporting them throughout the Empire that gave us the rich market in sports we have today.

    Since the US had left the Empire by then, they tended to go their own way.

    The French weren’t very big on inventing games, but they got their own back by grabbing most of the international rules bodies and insisting they be named in French.

  • Countingcats: The idea that the World Series is named after the New York World newspaper is an apocryphal one.

    The thinking at the time was and largely still is that Major League Baseball (encompassing the American and National leagues who meet in the world series each year) represents the highest level of organized baseball in the world and the champion of the major leagues is therefore the de facto world champion. Indeed, the teams that win the World Series fly World Championship banners from the rafters of their stadiums and issue diamond studded World Champion rings to their players and coaches.

    In recent years teams made up of US all stars have lost in international competition to Japan who have won the first two editions of the ‘world baseball classic’ a kind of world cup of baseball.

    This has cast serious doubt on the validity of World Championship claims made by the Major league champion at least in my opinion.

    Interestingly enough I believe that long ago the champions of English football made similar claims to world supremacy until the reality revealed by international competitions made such pretensions impossible to sustain

  • mike

    “Cricket: some day it will evolve to being like baseball only without math.

    But could someone tell me what a tea interval is? There does not appear to be much tea involved.”

    Actually Sunfish, you might be suprised to learn that the first ever international cricket match was played in New York. It seems likely that baseball evolved from cricket rather than the other way around.

    As for the tea interval – tea was traditionally drank in the afternoon along with the eating of scones, crumpets etc.
    In north-east England, (if not in the south!) ‘tea’ is simply the common name for your evening meal.

    In anycase, since the players disappear into the pavillion for the tea interval, you wouldn’t really know whether they were drinking tea or (in Flintoff’s case maybe) something a bit stronger!

  • Jay Thomas,

    Damn, I did something radical and checked. You’re right.

    Well, another nice story bites the dust.

  • Paul Marks

    Very retired’s comment is very good indeed.

  • Sunfish

    In anycase, since the players disappear into the pavillion for the tea interval, you wouldn’t really know whether they were drinking tea or (in Flintoff’s case maybe) something a bit stronger!

    That’s how I know that cricket and baseball are unrelated.

    Baseball players, we know damn well are getting into hookers and blow. I suspect that a lack of partaking of the delights of East Colfax Ave.[1] might explain the Rockies’ performance thus far this year.

    Although I seem to remember reading that baseball and cricket represent independent descent from a common ancestor (rounders?) rather than one being derived from the other. (Was that from Stephen Jay Gould? I don’t remember.)

    [1] where you have to pay at least $50 for any assurance at all that your, um, vendor is actually female