Friday, October 10, 2008

Jeff Agoos v. Karl Marx

The Goose, noted political scientist, examines the dialectics of Major League Soccer.

UPDATE: You know, for some reason I've been thinking about Jeff's analysis. (I know, I'm a sad man with nothing going on.) I have heard MLS's "single-entity" structure described as "socialist" before. The thing is, socialism—while it obviously comes in many different flavors and enjoys a, uh, mixed track record in practice—really involves some form of worker ownership and control of an economy or given asset. Or, in its blander social-democratic variants, at least management of the economy for the benefit of a broad spectrum of workers. In other words, MLS isn't socialist at all: it's a cartel of owners who have agreed to share certain risks and rewards and, very specifically, manage their shared product in a way that minimizes the workers' share in the proceeds. I recall when I interviewed MLS deputy commish Ivan Gazidis a few years back, he noted that many European leagues actually looked to MLS for inspiration—at least as far as "getting salary costs under control" was concerned. In that vein, I wonder how many of the MLS developmental players who make less than $20,000 a year think they work in a "socialist" system?

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