Predicting the NBA awards during the offseason is always tough to get right, but everyone loves whacking together a few bold predictions to see how wrong they are this time next year.
As the NBA lockout continues, with the very real spectre that an entire season will be lost as both sides refuse to blink, it appears that right now the only thing they can agree on is neither side cares about the fans enough to risk eroding their own position.
The issue that keeps rising from the ashes like a phoenix on amphetamines is who is morally right and who is morally wrong. The issue has had many column inches wasted and yet the answer sits there, plain as day: both and neither.
From a capitalist’s perspective, both sides are well within their rights to withhold capital if they believe the return inadequate for their contribution.
The owners have financial capital and industry structure on their side as they have a monopsony for basketball services. They believe they aren’t getting an adequate return on that capital, whether that return is a fluid mix of status and financial the fact remains they are well within their rights to attempt to maximise it.
The players, on the other hand, own the product. They’re the ones we pay to see play in on TV and in arenas and their ability to play at this level is frightfully fleeting. They have every right to try and maximise their potential return from the revenue they generate and we see this in professional services all the time.
There is no right, wrong or fair in this outcome, only two sides attempting to maximise their return whilst ensuring the other side is appropriately motivated to perform their duties.
But from a moderated socialist perspective, neither is right.
The owners’ losses come from the grand hubris of shelling out the GDP of a small nation from their bank roll to purchase price of these teams, which typically operate in community funded arenas, and yet feel no moral obligation to provide the services that the people have paid for.
The players earn, in addition to their elevated status and increased job security, small fortunes with which are generally incommensurate with their contributions to society and thus it is difficult to accept how they can feel entitled to be intransigent with regards to salary negotiations.
Whilst I do believe the owners will “win” due to having a combination of greater resources and greater consequence the only certainty I see is that the fans will be ignored for all purposes other than political manipulation.
I am a person who has unapologetically made their living on the cutting edge of capitalism but I still see the need to protect some elements of society from the inevitable tensions and consequences that capitalism brings.