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The Circle Bastiat

Winter Olympics and the diminishing value of performance

By Jim FedakoGuest blogger / February 19, 2010

US snowboarder Shaun White won a gold medal in the men's halfpipe competition at the Olympic Winter Games.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP


Given a fixed amount of money and increasing productivity, the value of money rises relative to the value of other goods (all caveats apply). The consumer sees this valuation change through falling prices at the checkout line.

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Interestingly, given a fixed amount of points and improving performances in Olympic events, the value of each point rises relative to the underlying set of skills (jumps, spins, etc.). The viewer sees this through falling points at each subsequent Olympics.

So, while Shaun White's recent halfpipe performance was valued at over 48 points, the exact same performance will be worth something less in four years.

It's a wonder that the Chicago School hasn't advocated some standard (say 5%) increase in available points per year in order to achieve Olympic point stability.

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