Blah, blah blah, NHL, blah, blah, blah, Values.

I am going to use this moment in history and the wonderful world of sports to exercise my brain a little. Let me propose an argument about value, because as the news of talks between the NHL and NHLPA became even worse 2 days ago, value is all I can think about.

The problem you see, regards value. The whole world system (by system, I mean the NHL with players included, capitalism, the government, our whole society) has all of its values backwards. And when I say value, I mean in the capital sense, as in all forms of the word value. I am referring to concepts of worth, of ethics, of culture, and economics. I am referring to value as a number, and as a sense of being, as in pride, craftsmanship, skill, importance, etc. In the arts, which is the field in which I earn money (money corrupts true value) something with value, has form, substance, and a range of beautiful colors and hues.

Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else, as defined by Wikipedia, which is one of the most pure and free exchanges of knowledge in present society in my opinion.

At the general level, there is a difference between moral and natural goods. Moral goods are those that have to do with the conduct of persons, usually leading to praise or blame. Natural goods, on the other hand, have to do with objects, not persons. In the current economical system, we have to question what the “moral goods”, and “natural goods” are, or if there is even a difference.

Of course, any good problem starts with a statement; maybe a question. I like to think any good answer (and in here lies part of the basic anomaly that corrupts education) begins and ends with a good question. What is wrong with our current system, and yes, I mean in the capital sense? We are currently surrounded by a very frustrated and intense climate of value and moral dysfunction. Surprise, the economy did not have a magic bounce back to the way it was in the 90's (which was just as much as sheet pulled over our eyes as it was sustainable), and this is becoming the most talked about issue as we fall into another election season. We are watching the beginning of Chicago Public School Teachers holding up their hands and striking, as the NHLPA does the same. Unions are battling across the nation, as they dwindle in numbers to corporate greed. Sure, Unions are not angels, but any person with an ounce of history knowledge, or need for health care, want of better wages, better working hours, or a more balanced system in which people can afford to have children and raise them themselves have Unions to thank. Today, Unions are at an all time low of representation. I say this as someone who is not even completely pro Union, just someone who recognizes what they do and what the other side tries to take. This Nation is obviously at some kind of turning point, and I fear that we, the people are not aware of who has control in the matter, and lost all sense of value in the process.

Where do we start, right? Let's just look at the problem that faces us here and now, which is simple. We have a situation where people who have no invested interest in something, besides their pocket books and need for more power, controlling the interests of others who care about where they are and what they are doing. Obviously, everything I have just said can be applied to just about anything, and indeed, I originally wrote it to refer to our deeply broken education system. Right now, I am refering to the NHL and the owners, who, since they have more money, have more power, and this power corrupts those who have no values, are destroying a game which is near and dear to my heart. In the place of empathy, greed takes over. We have been living this truth for so long that we have come to accept it as normal. To the point even, where an individual can believe that these money hungry powers actually have the answers to a better tomorrow or even want a better one. Why would they want to change a system that supports their way of life?  They would rather exploit you than to make it easier for you to succeed. I say this as a citizen, as a teacher, as a small business owner, and as a hockey fan.

Talks between the NHL and NHLPA have broken off, in which Bettman has basically said, nothing will continue until the players give up something. I hope you are as infuriated as I, especially when it was the owners who built the current contract, benefited off of the system they implemented, and made the loopholes that they are currently taking advantage off. Now, as the NHL grows more popular and the players start cashing in a little more on their hard work, in which they sacrifice their bodies and already their childhood to get there, the owners want more, more, more. The players have everything on the line, and the owners want to exploit their commitments to hockey to get what they want. Can we not see how this mentality is plaguing every inch of our society? Which do we value more, the love of the game, the work put into it by the individuals who's names we wear on our backs, or money? How does money even have value when watching such nonsense take place. The rich arguing with the super rich while too many go hungry on this planet, or fans scrounge enough together just to watch a game at the UC, where they can feel the energy and find some peace from the long day at work.

This doesn't end at hockey. The NFL and NBA just went through very similar situations. The argument is in our education system, which should be valued above all else, our healthcare, which should embody a value of wellness rather than exploitation, it is in our politics, in our choices of diet, and every other function of our lives. I ask you, what do you value and why? I recently heard a discussion between 2 women in which one said, "how can you be supporting that political candidate as a women, when nothing he says promotes the ideals of women liberation?" To which the other replied, "the economy is what matters right now, not human rights." Apparently to some, our pocket books are more important than how we treat one another.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: CBA, contracts, hockey, NHL, value


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  • Ever hear of TED Talks? Here's one, you should watch.


  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    I love TED Talks! Use them all of the time in my classes.

    Thanks for sharing the link. Yep, informative as always. I personally found it quite telling that the USA was consistently worse than the other countries and in every category. Had to laugh at how Japan was consistently the best. Not surprising would be that they also have one of the best healthcare and educational systems as well.

  • Strangely, your post HH made me think of John Candy in Cool Runnings when he tells the Jamaican capt, "If you aren't enough without a gold medal, you won't be enough with one" or something like that anyway. I made much better money as a broker then I do as an RN and though I didn't feel corrupted per se by the money I used to make, I did start to get a lot more uptight about the "hands" that were dipping into my earnings. Would I have handled that better if I had grown up wealthy? I don't know.

    You tackled a difficult subject HH. It's easy to spot greed and greed related douchebaggery. It's much tougher to really get to what motivates such anger and emptiness in the land of plenty. Perhaps if I was the owner of a proud historied team that sucked (cough-Leafs-cough) Perhaps I, too, would be bitter that while my team sucks, I am helping to finance a team that is winning through revenue sharing. If you think about it, this is not one bit different from the political themes we see right now wherein a lot of people, who don't make much money themselves, are pants pissing mad when they go into a grocery store and see someone buy shitty food with food stamps. Is money remotely and issue in that case? I say no.

    I don't have a drippy story where I say I am happier today even though I make less money. It's true, but money has nothing to do with it. There is no simple answer to fixing what I see as the problem, nor simple explanation for that matter. The best short answer I can come up with is accountability. Twisted as this may sound, stacking the deck so badly in favor of the wealthy has made it bad for them too. Do they really want to be job creators? Do they really want to drive the economy? Hell no. They want to do their thing, make money and let someone else sort out the details. However, now that we have freed them of any accountability or need to make any contribution back to the system that enriched them, we are left with a further shrinking pool of resources to continue keeping the system going.

    And so it is in the NHL. Because the owners WITH money can't stand being constrained, they snipped accountability and went right back to handing out ridiculous contracts that rewarded great players and then forced them to overpay for many mediocre players. Because there isn't any shame in what they have done, they are taking the totally logical course of demanding that someone else pay for their fuck up. Outside the NHL, you have to go back to right before the great depression to find the wealth inequality that we have today. And just like in the NHL, the bitterness for elite fail has been aimed squarely at those doing the least well.

    I'd like to think we are at a turning point, but I don't think that we are. Just as Leafs fans and Cubs fans will never stop rewarding incompetence, this current election cycle has not given me any indication that accountability will be levied against anyone BUT those who have little ability to defend themselves. Hockey players will not suffer quite as badly, but the paradigm is basically the same and we the voter who is also the hockey fan, will likely be unable to really make a principled stand and give up our satisfaction for the betterment of someone beneath us.

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