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How bad an investment are the Olympic Games for host cities?
If most people knew the details, they might feel very differently about the games.
Athletes and spectators alike are ramping up for the 2018 Winter Games, this year held in PyeongChang, South Korea. Beginning February 9, these Games will be the second time the Republic of Korea will have hosted the Olympics. The first was in 1988, a sort of coming out party, where Seoul showcased how much the country had developed on the world stage.
For countries who already have a solid brand and don't need a debutante ball costing billions of dollars, is the Olympics a good investment? For the PyeongChang Games, South Korea has built a $109 million stadium which will be used only four times: for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics. Afterward, it plans to tear it down, rather than let it become a “white elephant"—the colloquial term for a stadium that’s fallen into disuse and disrepair.
Today, hosting the Olympics can run into the billions of dollars. The average cost is $4.5 billion. And 90% of those for which we have records go over budget. Harvard Business School emeritus professor Stephen Greyser recently spoke at the Wharton School about this topic. His conclusion was, it may boost a country’s brand, but it’s almost always a loss economically.
Lots of research backs up the idea that hosting the Olympics is a bust. A 2015 study published in the journal Eurasian Geography and Economics, found that the Sochi Olympics, the second most expensive on record, cost $55 billion and showed little economic benefit to Russia. Note that Sochi’s price eventually cost 4.5 times the original estimate. Considering recent news stories about Russian interference in elections and its doping scandal, hosting the Olympics has done little to boost the country’s image long-term.
A 2015 study published in World Economics found that “except under special circumstances, the scholarly evidence suggests that hosting either event (the Olympics or the World Cup) is no economic bargain for the host city or country. Short-run costs for venue construction and operations invariably exceed Games-related revenues by billions of dollars and long-term gains are elusive.”
A recent paper out of Oxford looks at the 2016 Rio Olympics, along with cost-overrun data from 19 other cities who have hosted the world's most indispensable sporting event. Just the bidding process itself is expensive. Besides that, researchers looked at the construction costs for the Olympic villages (which house the world's athletes during the competitions), along with costs for administration, transportation, payroll, security, and more. Accounted for inflation and currency valuation, researchers found that the average cost overrun was 156% of the original estimate.
The stadium which once housed the 2016 Rio Summer Games now sits vacant, a “white elephant.” Credit: Getty Images.
Hoping to spur economic development outside of Seoul, one benefit South Korea stands to gain by hosting the Olympics is a boost to its winter tourism. But PyeongChang is a rural region in South Korea, located several hours’ drive from the capital city. The area gets few tourists, even domestic ones. Most visitors come to hike in the verdant hills when temperatures are warmer; a stalwart few come to ski, or to visit the nearby Buddhist temples (some of which date back to the 7th century).
At 2,300 feet above sea level, PyeongChang does have plenty of great areas for winter sports and lots of seasonal snow. President of South Korea's Olympic organizing committee Lee Hee-beom told USA Today, "We want to make these the best Winter Games ever and showcase Korea to the world as a global leader in sports and as the new hub for winter sports in Asia.”
Unfortunately, there is little evidence that hosting the games increases tourism. For cities that already draw tourists, Olympic-bound spectators often replace those who would normally visit. The latter stay away due to the crowds. The Barcelona Games of 1992 is one possible exception. Its tourism did increase there after the games showcased the city. So far, however, PyeongChang has had lackluster ticket sales, as spectators worry about enduring the cold (the Olympic stadium has no roof) and the lack of landmarks and other tourist destinations in the area.
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren explains how Russia sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. McLaren produced a report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Credit: Getty Images.
Even when it comes to branding, hosting the Olympics doesn’t necessarily equate to a boost. Speaking at Wharton, Prof. Greyser pointed out, that even though the 2008 Beijing games showcased China as a burgeoning world power, it also ignited activism around the world challenging China’s human rights record, its policies toward Tibet, its arbitrary imprisonment of journalists, and more. The 24-7 news cycle today throws a spotlight on every aspect, good and bad, projecting worldwide what’s going on inside a host country and how well it accommodates the games.
It was hosting the 2014 Sochi Olympics in fact that came to reveal the Russian doping scandal, which included up to 1,000 athletes in 30 sports. The athletes were passing clean urine through a hole in the wall in order to clear drug screening. At Barcelona in 1992, volunteers waited in line for hours, only to find organizers were out of uniforms. The 2004 Athens schedule was so delayed, people said the Chinese had already made better progress for the 2008 games. While coverage of the Rio games revealed a number of empty seats, which hurt its image.
There are indications that hosting the Olympic Games also increases inequality in a society and can lead to incidents of injustice, something that’s particularly poignant today when the gulf between rich and poor in nations around the world is exceedingly wide and growing. Generally, landowners, developers, construction firms, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants, and giant retailers benefit financially when a city hosts the Games while the citizenry is on the hook for whatever financial losses are incurred. For this reason, many economic progressives refer to the Olympics as a wealth transfer scheme; it takes tax money from the poor and middle class and funnels it to the rich.
As for injustice, during the Rio games, 20,000 poor, mostly black residents were displaced from their neighborhoods to make room for various redevelopment projects. That’s not to mention the waste and corruption that often comes with Olympic-related projects, many of which turn into white elephants or are torn down.
Because of this, activists in Budapest and Boston shut down their cities’ bids for the 2024 Summer Games. Los Angeles is expected to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, which is why a small but vocal group called NOlympics LA (organized by the Democratic Socialists of America's-Los Angeles chapter) is running a campaign to block it.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
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