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Marcotti: piedi in bocca

2008 July 18
by Skip Sauer

Gabriele Marcotti at SI today:

Many years ago I was taught about the invisible hand and free markets and how, by definition, something was worth whatever someone was willing to pay for it. Of course, I’ve since learned that it’s all a crock of bull. Some markets may work that way, but, in fact, most of them don’t.

I infer from this screed that Marcotti’s study of markets has led him to prefer the visible hand, centrally planned allocation, and a measure of worth spit out by a bureaucrat’s computer.

This punking of economics (later extended to Billy Beane and Moneyball) is prompted by Marcotti’s consideration of the transfer prices (and wages) of Ronaldhino, once heralded as the best soccer player in the world, and Ronaldo, who arguably is now. AC Milan just paid $40m for Ronaldhino, a price which is indeed quite puzzling, given his disappearing act last year with Barcelona. Marcotti sketches out some numbers to see if the transfer fee and wages add up to an estimate of incremental revenues, but throws up his hands in the end: “how do you quantify that?” Exactly, which is why Ronaldhino is worth what AC Milan is paying for him.

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