Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Modest Proposal

In this article, legal superstar Richard Epstein walks the reader through the logic of the National Football League Players' Association decertification and the so-called "Tom Brady" lawsuit. Through much of the analysis, Epstein appears to be making recommendations that favor the owners rather than the players. But then, near the end of his analysis, he drops the following idea into the mix. I can't believe that it will ever happen, but I believe that it would be a great public policy compromise (and, yes, the public is involved because we have written the labor negotiation and antitrust laws that are constraining and driving the current unhappy state of affairs):

"Nor is there, I might add, any chance of forcing a split up of the NFL’s two conferences, the AFC and the NFC , which would lead to the best of all worlds: measures to assure parity within leagues, and competition between leagues. The players give up their unions in favor of a choice between teams in two leagues. The management gives up its solid front in favor of labor peace. The rest of us can still watch a Super Bowl at the end of the season, with a special antitrust exemption. It may be too much to ask in the current milieu, which prefers the use of what the late John Kenneth Galbraith used to call countervailing powers."

A radical idea? Obviously. But often we need people like Epstein to toss a few crazy ideas over the castle wall to see that institutions can be changed. Which leads, oddly enough, to a topic for some new posts: the radical and crazy idea of one man, William H. Parker, that in 1949 corruption could be driven from the Los Angeles Police Department. Within a few years, the LAPD had become the model of "police professionalism." Who was William H. Parker, and how did he pull off this model of reform? More to come.

Thanks to NRO for the tip to the Epstein article.

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