The WSJ’s Holman Jenkins contributes to the sports-econ world today, contrasting Dale Jr.’s decision to leave DEI to Dow-Jones’ (parent of WSJ) rebuff of Murdoch’s offer for the company — “Necessary Skunks: What do Rupert Murdoch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Have in Common” (free through Opinion Journal). His thrust is that while tradition and history are fine, business is about the future:
Great newspapers are great because talented, ambitious reporters and writers seek them out to work for them, not just because the owners have laudable intentions. The Dow Jones legacy has been terrific but what about the future? The world will continue to spawn alternatives to its franchise, and the Journal is in danger of becoming less and less central to the world’s business life (and, sadly, that’s regardless of any willingness by the controlling shareholders to become poorer and poorer to protect the Journal).
Maybe Dow Jones should call in Junior as a consultant, or Jenkins. Beyond his emphasis on the importance of a forward-looking perspective, Jenkins breakdown of the ultimate weakness of “laudable intentions” not coupled with clear thinking throughout the piece offers an effective illustration of a basic economic principle.