If you are at all paying attention, you will inevitably hear about the vast sums host countries spend preparing for the Olympic Games - building new sport venues, beefing up public transit, etc. This is almost always at taxpayer expense. In fact, the decision to award a particular country an edition of the Games is often swayed heavily by the extent to which that country will dip into the public coffers. If you might recall the coverage surrounding the final vote of the International Olympic Committee in 2005 to award the 2012 games to London over the putative favorite Paris. There was wide speculation that Paris' plan to minimize their investment in new venues by erecting mostly temporary facilities was a factor that ultimately pushed the decision in favor of the British and their promises to spend on a massive scale. Something about ensuring the "legacy" left by the games on London. A more perfect example of the principle in economics known as "the winners curse" we have never seen, not to mention the big disruption to the normal enterprise that occurs on a daily basis in London.
|No trunk or big ears, but this is what a white elephant looks like|
It should be noted that Beijing is the exception that proves the rule. Only a country with that much trade-surplus cash on hand could afford to throw a pile of money down the Olympics hole.
|It should read, "Good luck paying for it."|
All of this leads us to wonder aloud whether all of the money sunk into Olympic preparation, and the hype that it engenders, acts as some kind of Keynesian stimulus for endorsed athletes and shoe companies. It's likely the worst, least efficient stimulus imaginable, but it looks like at least somebody is being enriched by the Games. It's just not the taxpayers of the UK footing the bill, nor the fans paying to watch in person, nor the hapless schmucks in the USA forced to watch nightly coverage on NBC.