Hosting the Olympic Games isn’t as popular as it used to be. This week, Boston cancelled its bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics. The city was forced to cancel the effort in response to opposition to what The Nation called the ‘debt, displacement, and militarization of public space’ that the Olympics brings to every host city. Basically, the taxpayers and citizens of Boston weren’t in the mood to foot the bill for an enormous party for the richest and most powerful plutocrats of Boston and the United States.
While the Olympic Games may have once been about sport and international camaraderie, they were soon transformed into monuments to crony capitalism. Peter Hitchens traces this transformation back to Hitler and Goebbels who made the Olympics ‘into a torch-lit and grandiose spectacle,’ and the international Olympics committee has been fine with that ever since.
Today, the Olympics has become a way to score diplomatic points and showcase the wealth and influence of national governments. Indeed, it’s no wonder at all that the host cities of the Olympics have taken on a decidedly authoritarian flair with China and Russia rushing to make various bids. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will soon get to choose between Kazakhstan and China for hosts of 2022′s winter games. (Oslo, Norway pulled out of the 2022 bidding process after the taxpayers resisted the IOC’s diva-like demands for tax-funded perks.)
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on AUGUST 1, 2015.