Is The Professor wrong about Usain Bolt?

August 22, 2008

Professor Cheung wrote about Liu Xiang (刘翔) and Usain Bolt in this entry “从刘翔弃赛说黄龙觅士“. I have written about Liu Xiang here and have nothing much to add.

What I do want to humbly point out is I think the Professor is wrong in his assessment of Bolt,

牙 买加的飞人博尔特可谓不识时务。冲线之前他伸臂拍胸,明显地缓慢了下来,仍然以九秒六九破了一百米的世界纪录。如果此公不搞搞震,九秒六○易过借火,这样 的纪录可能维持数十年。

Given the talent of Usain, I think he is so good that he can pretty much break the world record a few times as he improves. So, economically, why would he want to push it all the way out to something that will take him years to break? If I had Usain kind of talent, then theoretically speaking I can break a world record once and get it to 9.60 OR break it a few times (or nine times) over a few years, one for each of 9.68, 9.67, 9.66, … 9.60. If I were Usain, it seems rather obvious that I would definitely want to choose the later option and gain the benefit & hype of extending my “wow” factor and sustaining people’s attention. To me, the commercial and advertising values will certainly be higher after each contract negotiation every few years. 🙂

Here is a link to my brief “Dear Usain Bolt“.

P.S. And I think there is prize money for breaking a world record in some of the international track competitions too.

P.P.S. Sorry I haven’t blogged about The Professor’s “Economic System of China” yet as I have been preoccupied with many things on my plate. I will blog about the article when I find some time. I will.

A reply to Kin Ming

August 15, 2008

My guess is that in a country with under developed institutional arrangement, regional competition is particularly helpful.  If region A is getting too unreasonable in terms of policy, taxation and corruption, investors can shift to region B instead.  In other words, the regional competition can, to a certain extend, serves as a powerful tool to reduce ‘crazy practices’, including corruption.  In the long run, to strengthen the institutional arrangement (i.e. delineation and enforcement of property rights) is still inevitable.



August 10, 2008