A Conservative Critique of the Hosting of the Olympic Games
By: Sam Drinovz
This paper will criticize the hosting of the Olympic Games from the standpoint of a Burkean conservative. A series of basic ideas and background information must be presented before the argument can be properly understood. The conservative ideology in general will first be discussed. In doing so, the general ideology of liberalism will be examined briefly in order to understand more fully the concept of conservatism. Once this foundation is established, the variant of conservatism will be analyzed. This is known as conservatism in the Burkean tradition, or simply British conservatism. This type of conservatism will then be applied to the problems of hosting the Olympic Games. The economic benefits or deficits, the use of human rationality, the scale of the event, the lack of experience officials may have, the rapid change the event leads to, and the opportunity costs will all be discussed in this paper. Furthermore, counter-arguments from the possible viewpoints of other conservatives will be considered. The first counter-argument involves the promotion of communities that the Olympics are supposed to create. The second counter-argument deals with the idea that some cities have benefited economically from hosting the Games.
Mega sports events like the Olympic or the commonwealth Games, the Football World Cup or the European Capital of Culture always have big and beautiful aims, like for the last one, according to the European Commission ‘highlight the diversity of cultural wealth in Europe and the ties that bind us as Europeans’ (toutel’europe. Eu, seen on the 4th january 2012). But nowadays, countries and cities bid ...
The term “conservatism” today can lead to all sorts of confusion as a result of the term being used in a variety of ways. One should not get mixed up with the relative usage of the term and the ideology itself. The term is often used to describe the act of referring back to tradition, regardless of what this tradition may entail. For example, an individual who has lived in a communist regime (a society in which there is equal distribution of wealth, and thus no private property.) for an extended period of time may refer to communism as conservative in the face of a democratic revolution. Though communism is very different from conservatism, the usage of the term “conservative” is still valid.
The general ideology of conservatism can be associated with several characteristics. One of the most prominent of all the ideas does relate to the keeping of tradition. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”, as one conservative said. The earliest form of conservatism, known as reactionary conservatism, is a prime example of this. Ultimately it was a reaction against the first form of liberalism (a society having individual freedom and liberty, democracy). It had the goal of reverting back to the traditional monarchy that had been in place beforehand. Conservatives tend to focus on what has worked in the past. They take a pessimistic view of human nature, and as a result they are quick to criticize any forms of human reason. Human reason and rationalizing only lead to the founding of abstract ideas which when put into practice, fail to work as expected.7
It should be noted, that most conservatives are open to gradual change such as the acceptance of democracy.
Another key factor to conservatism is the idea of an existing moral order.9 There is strong respect for law, order, and authority. Order is favoured over liberty.10 This moral order exists prior to humankind and the state should have authority to enforce the order’s values.
From an economic standpoint, wealth should be earned, rather than distributed.11 As a result of this conservatives generally prefer a minimal state which allows elite individuals to flourish.12
Conservatism in the Burkean tradition, which can be identified as British conservatism, traditional conservatism, or classical conservatism, is largely comprised of the features described above. However there are a few points that should not go unmentioned.
Conservative Judaism: Inception, History and Way Of Life The term Conservative had been attached to the moderates by the Reformers because the moderates had branded them as radicals. This name hardly describes the movement aptly. Conservative Judaism, is the American version of the principles of positive historical Judaism. The conservatives accept the findings of modern scholarship that Judaism ...
There is added emphasis on the idea of the foolishness of human rationality.13 This is largely because of the writings of Edmund Burke, who is widely considered the founder of British conservatism.14 He ridiculed the French Revolution for its high use of human reason.
There is also a focus on institutions including the church, family, and private property.15 These sorts of things combine to make up our important local communities and work to strengthen society as a whole.16
An organic, complex viewpoint of society is taken.17 For example, you cannot simply gut out a part of an animal, cut it to pieces, then put them back in and expect it to function. Each person serves their own special use.
Now that the facts of the specific ideology have been laid out, the subject of the Olympic Games can be analyzed. The Olympic Games are colossal world festivals of sporting competitions done every two years. They rotate between summer and winter sporting events. There is no set location for the Games, as a new city hosts the Games every time. Hordes of people such as tourists, media outlets, and athletes converge on the one specified location. The bulk of the world casts its eye on the city hosting these Games.
The past has shown unsuccessful and often disastrous economic experiences for many of the cities who have hosted the Olympic Games. A prime example of the Olympic Games leading to disastrous economic consequences is the case of the Montreal Olympics in 1976. In this case, the huge cost overruns and debts that were acquired are just being broken even with recently.18
In the case of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympics, estimates are also negative. Among a couple peer-reviewed journal articles, the estimates range from a $101 million19 to $1.2 billion20 net financial loss from the Games. It is interesting to note that these estimates do not take into account several other sources of costs that may arise. It should also be noted that among the peer-reviewed analyses, most are out of date. This indicates that the studies also did not take into account the recent cost overruns that the city has faced in preparing for the Games. From a less reliable but more recent source (January, 2009), it states that the costs have exceeded $6 billion.21 What is particularly striking about this is how it does not include the last ten months of consistent spending. Such figures show that Vancouver will not benefit from an economic standpoint in hosting the Games.
The ancient Olympic games represent a part of Ancient Greek history that the world continues to celebrate today. Every four years world nations gather at a specific site to compete in the Olympic games. This coming together of world nations symbolizes a time of peace and unity among the world. With every victory came honor, glory and pride for the winning athlete and their country. The history and ...
When one looks at the overwhelming size of this event, it becomes clear: The hosting of the Olympic Games is ultimately an enormous exercise of human reason. Even the largest city will seem miniscule in comparison to the broad scope of the entire world. The planning and preparation behind such a task is immense. Mankind is far too flawed to handle such a large undertaking. With the sheer amount of human thinking involved, a multitude of problems and negative consequences are bound to emerge.
A significant flaw in the Olympic Games system is that for the most part, a new city is in charge of hosting it each time. In turn, mostly new individuals are responsible in the preparation for the hosting of the Olympics. Having little prior experience to draw back on, this is a recipe for chaos.
If the world is to support such a large event, then experienced individuals should be in charge of it. The main criticism here is the fact that the majority of the operation is often lead by the local (municipal) government. This is evident as the Games are hosted by cities, not countries. While many federal government employees likely have little experience in hosting such an event, the level of experience in the municipal government is likely to be much less. Municipal governments are familiar in dealing with small scale operations in comparison to an Olympic Games. An Olympic Games will be a new and unfamiliar experience to most of them, which may lead to disaster.
On top of this lack of experience, the Olympics result in the need for rapid change in the host city. Rapid change is by no means a good idea. It creates an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and chaos. In the period of a few years, cities are expected to transform their infrastructure to accommodate the masses of people soon to come. Government planners scramble to organize the city so it can be ready for the fast approaching Games. This rush in planning and construction often results in unexpected delays and cost overruns. It creates an interruption in the natural flow of the city. Healthy cities are accustomed to growing gradually in a balanced and stable fashion. The sudden rapid expansion of a city is much like trying to stretch out a growing child in the hope that he or she will become taller. Such quick change is unnatural, and should be avoided.
The Term Paper on Summary of Pages 65-74, A Nation of Immigrants: An Overview of the Economic and Political Conditions
March 8, 1999 Racial and Ethnic Relations. Summary of Pages 65-74, A Nation of Immigrants: An Overview of the Economic and Political Conditions of Selected Racial and Ethnic Groups. The North American economic development has seen several stages of development. The first stage of economic development was a plantation-slave economy mixed with mercantilism, the second stage of development was a ...
What is often ignored are the opportunity costs in hosting such an event. Opportunity cost refers to the benefits that could have been obtained by choosing an action’s best alternative.22 This can be applied to the hosting of the Games. It is possible that the use of the funds spent on the Olympics could be put to better use, even if an economic benefit was received from the Games.23
The aftermath of the Olympics can leave the host cities with unnecessary venues, housing, and transit systems. If all of this money is to be spent, it should be spent on what will strengthen the local community the most. The priority should be the city’s local residents rather than catering to those who do not even live here.
In most cases, the government assigns itself to the handling in the operations of the Olympics. This raises the question: Who will pay for all of these changes? There are two main sources that provide the huge sums of money to be spent.
The first source, are the people of the host country. To cope with the money that will be spent, the government places taxes on the country’s citizens. Whether or not they support the Olympics, they are forced to pay for it. This extra taxation may cause losses in other economic sectors. The use of the state in this manner is not good for society. It is unnatural and frequently leads to unexpected problems.
The second source of money can be applied to the following counter-argument: The Olympic Games help to create a sense of community and display unique cultures. This may be held from a conservative point of view, as most of the variants including traditional conservatism, support strong communities and cultural uniqueness.24 However this argument is set back by the fact that a great portion of the Olympic Games are paid by sponsors. These sponsors embark on massive advertising campaigns, which take away from the community and cultural identity that the Games should provide. Unique cultures are instead manipulated into a marketing strategy.25The resulting outcome is more of a focus on consumer goods than cultural identities.
Abstract: The Olympic games are one of the world most important activity from a sporting point of view because all of the most important players in the world will be there and will raise the prestige of the country but also from an economic point of view because to host such an event you attract new investments , business opportunities and the number of tourists will raise and that will boost the ...
Due to their competitive nature, the Olympics actually work to promote nationalism. Coinciding with human nature, the countries coming together all hope to win as many medals as possible. This competitiveness, driven by human kind’s greed to be the best, certainly does not aid in the building of communities. Instead, it acts as a catalyst for conflict between existing communities.
Another counter-argument could argue how some cities achieved economic success. It is true that some cities, such as Los Angeles and Sydney26 have benefited economically from the games. However, given the risk of what could go wrong, it is not worth taking. Cities have enough problems in the first place, and the addition of an Olympic Games will just create more. There is also evidence showing that the Olympics may contribute to an economic slowdown.27 Spain and Sydney, for example, showed signs of post-Olympics economic slowdown.28The opportunity cost previously discussed should also be considered.
In this paper, a stepping stone was first developed for the conservative ideology in general. The variant known as traditional conservatism was then discussed, which was identified as Burkean conservatism. It is comprised mainly of keeping to tradition, a negative view of human reason, a higher moral order, and an emphasis on local communities.
Once this was established, facts about the Olympic Games were laid out. Arguments against the hosting of the Games as well as responses to counter-arguments were then presented. Through the economic risks, the previous economic disasters, the vast amount of human thought required to stage such a large event, the opportunity costs, the advertising of sponsors, and the feelings of nationalism that the Olympics entail prove it to be a dangerous event.
the olympics began in about 776 bc. archeologists originated from funeral ceremonies held in the honor of hero's. games originated in greece. after 393 ad, the roman emperor forbid the games to be held. in 1896, the first modern olympics were held in athens, greece. the international congress of paris agreed to hold the games every 4 years.the olympic games consist of games on water, ice, land and ...
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Available for download at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=974724
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 Andrew Heywood, Political Ideologies: An Introduction. ed. by Povey-Edmondson (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), ch.3
 Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today 2nd ed., ed. by Bill Jones (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 148
,6,7-12 Roger Gibbins and Loleen Youngman, Mindscapes: Political Ideologies towards the 21st century (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) ch.3
 Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today 2nd ed., ed. by Bill Jones (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 10
 Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today 2nd ed., ed. by Bill Jones (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 44
13 Roger Gibbins and Loleen Youngman, Mindscapes: Political Ideologies towards the 21st century (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) ch.3
14Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today 2nd ed., ed. by Bill Jones (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 55
15-17 Andrew Heywood, Political Ideologies: An Introduction. ed. by Povey-Edmondson (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), ch.3
18 Marc Levine. “Tourism-Based Redevelopment and the Fiscal Crisis of the City: The Case of Montreal.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research. 12, no.1 (2003): 107
19 Darren Mchugh. “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of an Olympic Games.” (2006): 61
Available for download at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=974724
20 M. Shaffer, A.Greer, C. Mauboules. “Olympic Costs & Benefits.” (2003): 27
Available at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/BC_Office_Pubs/olympics_costbenefit.pdf
21 Daphine Braham. “Olympics bill tops $6 billion – so far” The Vancouver Sun. January, 2009
Available at: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/olympics+bill+tops+billion/1207886/story.html
22 Mark Lovewell. Understanding Economics: A Contemporary Perspective. ed. 5, ed. by Joanna Cotton. (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2009)
23 “Economic Impact of the Olympic Games” PricewaterhouseCoopers European Economic Outlook (2004): 19-20
24 Roger Gibbins and Loleen Youngman, Mindscapes: Political Ideologies towards the 21st century (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) ch.3
25 John Nauright. “Global games: culture, political economy and sport in the globalised world of the 21 century.” Third World Quarterly 25, no.7 (2004): 1328
26 “Economic Impact of the Olympic Games” PricewaterhouseCoopers European Economic Outlook (2004): 24
27-28 “Economic Impact of the Olympic Games” PricewaterhouseCoopers European Economic Outlook (2004): 24