Archive for June 15th, 2018

Football’s roots in India are old and strong, but economic factors have kept it from flourishing

June 15, 2018

Just like in case of East Germany, economic factors have played a role in Indian football as well.

Unlike cricket, Football was played by one and all. It was hugely popular across India in mid 1900s”


Why German football team has players mainly from west part of Germany: Capitalist vs. communist football

June 15, 2018

Interesting piece by Prof Per Urlaub.

Football in East Germany was visible till unification. Post-unification, there are hardly any players from East. Why?

What happened? Why – with the exception of Kroos – are none of the other players on German’s current national squad from the Eastern part of the country?The answer lies in economics.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East’s best players immediately left to join the clubs in the West that could pay them higher salaries. Meanwhile, like the economies of other former Soviet countries transitioning from communism to capitalism, the rapid reorganization of East Germany’s economy led to the collapse of entire industries.

East German clubs felt the pain. Not a single club from the East managed to establish a permanent presence in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top professional league. No longer receiving government funding – and unable to attract the steady flow of cash from television deals and corporate sponsorships like their Western counterparts – the clubs from the East were forced to radically downsized their youth academies.

Kroos, of course, is the outlier. But he owes little to East Germany’s soccer clubs.

Instead, his father, Roland Kroos, was a soccer coach. Roland not only identified his son’s athletic potential, but he was also able to develop his boy’s skills. When Kroos was a teenager, his father placed his son into the youth academy of one of Europe’s most successful soccer empires, Bayern Munich. It was in the West where Toni – dubbed by his father the “family project” – matured as a player, before moving on to Real Madrid, where he plays when he’s not playing for the German national team.

Today, the West’s dominance in German soccer symbolizes the country’s economic divisions.

Like in many other industries, West German soccer had a head start after the unification. The geographic imbalance in German soccer is emblematic of the unacknowledged economic inequalities between East and West that persist to this day.


Getting to Denmark: The role of elites in development

June 15, 2018

A group of scholars (Peter Jensen, Markus Lampe, Paul Sharp, Christian Skovsgaard) try figure the history behind the Dane model. The picture is hardly as rosy as it sounds.

There is this belief that Denmark grew via cooperating peasants. It misses the role of elites in the process:

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