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« Congratulations to Shruti Rajagopalan on ESNIE Award | Main | "Talent is God given, be humble. Fame is man given, be grateful. Conceit is self given, be careful." »


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The flaw in your argument is that in the cases Hayek is concerned with, we don't know the unseen and some people will be harmed by the meddling. In the baseball case, neither is true: it was the 27th out, so we _do_ know the unseen, and no one will be "harmed" in the sense that even the calling ump thinks the call was wrong. So the bogeyman of second-guessing the umps is not relevant here. I don't see the downside to having umps overrule themselves if they realize their initial view was wrong.

I think there is a lot that can be learnt from sports. In Ireland and Britain it's interesting to compare the different organizations.

The Gaelic sports are operated by a central organization that has quite a lot of devolution, but unified finances - The GAA. The other sports, soccer, cricket and rugby are much more decentralised. Each club is a separate business. The central bodies generally only oversee the rules.

In GAA the unification of the games finances with the rule making has led to some "interesting" decisions. As in Soccer and Rugby there is the question of the rules surrounding a draw. What happens when the whistle blows and both teams have the same score. In Soccer the answer is: extra time and then possibly penalties.

In Hurling the GAA have declared that a replay should occur if there is a draw in an inter-county match. Many Hurling fans I've talked to have said that this rule was motivated by money-making. Because, if there is a replay then the fans must all buy tickets again. The peculiarities of the rules makes it look quite suspicious. Replays aren't played in lower level matches, those are decided by extra time, like soccer.

It's interesting that the idea of sports with widespread formalised rules seems to have been pioneered in the Anglo-Saxon countries. Games of mob-football played between villages have been going on since at least medieval times AFAIK. But, each locality would have it's own rules and customs. As far as I know, the idea of a common set of rules used over a wide area is quite recent.

There is some comparison here between the mediaeval system of agriculture - the "open field system". The manor court and the farms of a given village would have their own particular practices. Enclosure brought the possibility of uniform laws.

I can't help mentioning the following fact I find fascinating.... In England there are a few tiny areas that were never enclosed and still use the open field system. One of these is the area around Haxey in North Lincolnshire. This also one of the last places where an ancient form of mob football is played. Every December the crazy game of Haxey Hood is played across several acres of fields around the village. There is another link here, mob football can only really be played on unenclosed land. Enclosure made mob football impractical in most places and I suppose that may have paved the way for the sports we know today to arise.

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