Tag Archives: Economics

Dear NFL cheerleaders: Don’t sue your teams over low wages

Though the NFL season’s kickoff is still three months away, controversy already plagues the league. Most recently, NFL cheerleaders made the headlines with lawsuits over their low wages.

On Jan. 31, a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader filed a class action suit against the NFL and 26 of its teams on behalf of all cheerleaders employed by the NFL for the past four years seeking $100 million to $300 million in damages. This cheerleader, called “Kelsey K.,” alleged that the NFL and member teams conspired to artificially suppress the wages of cheerleaders through collusion.

A federal judge dismissed this claim on May 26 at the request of the NFL and its member teams because he believed that the complaint did not present any evidence of collusion or antitrust behavior. Yet, because this lawsuit was just the latest in a string of allegations against the NFL of underpaying cheerleaders, it is important to make it clear that basic economics — not illegal collusion — is why cheerleaders choose to work for such low pay…

Read the rest at: The Washington Examiner

Hey, Buffalo Wild Wings and company: Don’t blame millennials for your dying restaurants

Calm down, Generation Xers –– millennials aren’t ruining casual dining, though Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith would love to differ. Smith made headlines last week as she wrote about the casual dining demise in a letter to shareholders. She blamed declining sales on changing tastes, saying millennials prefer cooking at home, ordering food for delivery or frequenting restaurants that provide quick service. Although she’s certainly correct about reasons why casual dining has experienced a popularity decline, blame shouldn’t be placed on millennials –– it should be placed on the restaurants that have failed to keep up with changing demand.

Read more at The Washington Examiner

The Dangerous Effects of Far-Right Populism on Global Peace and Economics

Last week, a New York court charged white supremacist and army veteran, James Jackson, with second-degree murder for fatally stabbing a black man, Timothy Caughman, to death. Jackson later revealed that his frequent usage of neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, informed his hate views confirming the violent rise in far-right activities.

Like other hate-fueled crimes committed in the last few months across Europe and the U.S., an unrestrained progression in far-right attitudes, especially those ignorantly propagated by political leaders, might trigger more racial intolerance, negatively affect economies and serve a victory for religious extremism and communist states.

Most of these violent opinions have reversed racial and religious tolerance, triggering attacks on minority groups, and, if unchecked, might brook more violence with threat on social diversity. It could also re-institutionalize racism, leaving a negative backdrop on the prolific tourist industry in Europe and the U.S. since one in ten enterprises in the non-financial business economy of European states are linked to tourism.

These over 2.2 million enterprises employ 12 million persons. In fact, Germany and France are top beneficiaries, with an average of over €38 billion in revenue between them. Likewise in the U.S., tourism supports over 7 million jobs and produces an economic output of over $1.6 million.

Continue reading at Outset Magazine

Commercialism in Music Is Totally Justified

Commenting on the events of the Academy Awards last month, Amanda Petrusich writes in The New Yorker an ambiguous column about the commercial phenomenon and success of Justin Timberlake. Timberlake opened the ceremony with a performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the animated movie Trolls. Petrusich runs through the highlights of Timberlake’s career and observes that “[t]hese days, we have mostly divested ourselves of any notion that art and profit are inherently at odds, or that work made in service of consumerism is fundamentally compromised….Timberlake might be, at present, our most expressly and unapologetically commercial artist.”

The notion that art and profit are inherently incompatible is inconsistent with the historical record, and this is exactly why Timberlake is as omnipresent in the entertainment industry as he is. He consistently delivers a product that consumers enjoy and are willing to buy.

Artistic Value

According to Petrusich, Timberlake’s career has been shaped by corporate and commercial designs. He began his career with “The Mickey Mouse Club” and then joined the band N’Sync, a group “designed primarily to make money.” He recorded a jingle that was widely used by McDonald’s for advertising in the early 2000s. He has also “had a fashion line, a record label, restaurants, a golf course, and a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies; he cheerfully endorses many products, including a fragrance, a car, and Sony electronics. In 2012, he hosted a corporate meeting for Walmart shareholders.” All the while, his solo albums have sold almost 30 million records worldwide.

The amalgamation of Timberlake’s talent, public persona, and commercial presence has turned out to be a winning combo for him. Much like the corporations and businesses he has acted as spokesperson for, his products create value for listeners (and moviegoers), which is why they are willing to depart with their earned income to purchase them.

Continue reading at FEE.

The Backwards Thinking of #DeleteUber

It’s no secret that taxi unions and Uber have been in competition with each other since Uber’s inception in 2009, but the battle has reached new and increasingly petty heights. New York City taxi drivers went on strike in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s new immigration policy at John F. Kennedy International Airport while Uber continued serving the airport and surrounding areas. Uber even turned off surge pricing (an element of their pricing system that often comes under fire during crises) as they carried protesters, attorneys, and the press back and forth from JFK late Friday evening.

Uber was accused of ruining the strike by continuing to run routes to JFK and the #DeleteUber social media campaign was started on Twitter. Why? To lambast the company for making the decision to increase human mobility and choice by providing uninterrupted service. The irony is clear, given that this was all a response to an immigration policy crisis that restricts human mobility and freedom of choice.

Although the intentions of the striking taxi drivers were undoubtedly good, it’s unreasonable to demonize Uber or to assume that the company was focused only on profiting during a time of humanitarian crisis.

Continue reading at FEE.