Markets in everything

And while I knew that retired baseball players sell their autographs for $15 a pop, I had no idea that Pete Rose, who was banished from baseball for life for betting, has a Web site that, Sandel writes, “sells memorabilia related to his banishment. For $299, plus shipping and handling, you can buy a baseball autographed by Rose and inscribed with an apology: ‘I’m sorry I bet on baseball.’ For $500, Rose will send you an autographed copy of the document banishing him from the game.”

That is from Thomas Friedman.


Best "Markets in Everything" post in a long time.

You can also buy a baseball that says "4256 hits, 0 steroids". I wonder if some other baseball player is going to start selling a ball saying "I'm sorry for taking steroids but at least I never bet on baseball."

"I'm sorry I bet on baseball."

What, if anything, does his sale of this baseball tell us about the truth value of this sentence?

What, if anything, does the implied truth value of this sentence tell us about the beliefs of the person buying the baseball regarding its truth value?

There is no "truth value" to a statement like "I'm sorry I bet on baseball." It is a type of speech act.

Interesting. So you think that being "sorry" is not an actual mental or emotional state regarding past circumstances, the possession of which is falsifiable? Regret, remorse, penitence, contrition are not real?

Saying "I like chocolate ice cream." has a truth value. Saying "Chocolate ice cream tastes good." does not, unless there is an implied "to me" at the end.

Love means never have to make a speech act.

Let me put it this way. Not only can't you tell whether Pete Rose is "sorry," Pete Rose can't either.

I'm quite certain I can tell you whether or not I'm sorry for many things that I have done, no matter how you define "sorry." It could mean that under the same circumstances, knowing what you know now, you'd make a different decision. It could mean that although you'd probably make the same decision, you feel bad about the consequences.

I don't believe that all words have a concrete meaning. Some people invent words to express beliefs that have no rational basis or relevant applications. Some words have a precise meaning, but they are hollow in their application.

But I'm pretty sure "sorry" is a word that has a concrete meaning. If I accept the fact that I have regrets, and I understand that mankind has invented this word "sorry" to express those regrets, I don't think I'm alone in the universe in this feeling. in everything. There are reports of former SS guards autographing memorabilia from their glory days in Poland. What is the marginal utility or opportunity cost of such things anyway?

As a Polish Jew, I could still find value in these things.

I would not pay a murdering SOB for the value of his autograph or memorabilia, but I'd happily buy it from a third party.

As with the traditions of the Passover Seder, such memorabilia reminds us of the evil and bitterness of our past. We remember how things were and appreciate how much better things are.

Even when I see films of Hitler dancing with joy, admiring art, or playing with dogs or children, it reminds me that such evil can come from people who are otherwise able to enjoy the beauty of life.

I certainly attach more subjective value to SS memorabilia than Pete Rose memorabilia. I don't hate or resent Pete - I just don't value his contributions or the lessons of his experience so much that I care. What worldly lesson is society to take forward from Pete Rose and his indiscretions?

Frankly, unless he had influence over the outcome of a game he bet on, I find no crime in it. For baseball, it is the appearance of impropriety that they care about - going all the way back to the Black Sox scandal. He broke THEIR law, and given that baseball has a government-granted monopoly, I'm somewhat less sympathetic to MLB's woes.

Of course, by buying that signature from a third party, you increase the value of that signature, and thus, the potential income of the murdering SOB.

I'd be willing to part with a small sum for Pete's autograph on one of his losing horse race tickets, especially for an important race.

how much for a ball autographed "I killed Bart Giammati?"

I can see a whole new career for OJ Simpson. And God I hope they don't let Charles Manson out of prison.

At least he is a little repentant. I was reading an autobiography of a Russian who ran part of the Gulag in Siberia before going to work as, among other things, an advisor to the new People's Republic of China. Can't think what he was teaching them to do. Utterly unrepentant. Largely unaware. But of course the betting on baseball thing is vastly smaller. Not even comparable. Still I would love to get Chomsky's signature of my old copy of American Mandarins apologising for being nice to the Khmer Rouge. He ever apologise for setting up and running the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars which posted genocide-denying articles about the Pol Pot years?

How about Chomsky's autograph on a "Holiday in Cambodia" single?

Don't they all bet on baseball?

And wouldn't some economists say "if he's not betting on his team, he doesn't really believe in them"?

On a related note, disgraced erstwhile NBA ref, Tim Donaghy, has moved into a career selling betting tips for NBA games.

Michael Sandel gave a talk here in LA last week discussing the topics covered in his new book. Throughout the talk, I kept thinking back to Tyler's many "Markets in Everything" posts.

I'd love to see a Bloggingheads or something similar between Tyler and Sandel. That would be very enlightening.

Make it happen! You both have books out right now. Cross-promote!

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