…on the playing fields of somewhere-or-other

Football is a big, profitable sideline for my company, and lots of its competitors, and an even bigger business at the professional level. But this is not why we need football. We need football because it is in every way a moral beacon, demonstrating how a big team of managers, coaches, sponsors, agents, back-office drones, and the union that represents our noble gladiators can work together in one-for-all, all-for-one unity. The brave young men who bash each other up for us on fall Sundays know they are embraced in unbreakable solidarity, cared for and protected until the very day they stop being of any financial interest. No sir, these boys don’t go on the trash heap until someone better comes along, you betcha: that’s teamwork, and that’s business, and that’s why America is the best country and football is the best sport.

It’s an inspiration to us all, how this institution takes care of its own…and if the military could take a lesson from this great American sport, there would be tax cuts in it for all of us. If brain-injured football players are on their own, what kind of selfish jerks are these busted-up veterans, expecting to be coddled when they can’t march or shoot?

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.