LeSean McCoy's Beautiful Marginalist Insight
By David Henderson
“As a team, trying to win and not have a distraction on the team, I just take that as a player — there’s certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there’s other players that it’s not good enough or not worth it. I think his situation is not good enough to have him [Colin Kaepernick] on the team with all the attention that comes along with it. I’m sure if a guy like [Tom] Brady or a guy like whoever is your favorite player — Odell Beckham or a guy like that — you’ll deal with that attention and play him,” said the Buffalo Bill.
This is from Amanda Prestigiacomo, “Bills’ LeSean McCoy Explains Why Kaepernick Hasn’t Been Signed. He’s Exactly Right.”
This is a beautiful application of marginal thinking, incentives, tradeoffs, and compensating differentials. If Colin Kaepernick were a better player, the team might be willing to deal with all the turmoil that comes with his not standing for the anthem. Thus McCoy’s examples of Tom Brady and Odell Beckham.
It’s like the case I’ve written about [I can’t find where] where my old friend Bob Barro, then at the University of Chicago and someone who hated cigarette smoke, had a sign on his door. This was at a time when people were allowed to smoke and it was up to the office occupant whether to allow it. Barry’s sign said: “No smoking, except for Bob Lucas.” Lucas was enough of a star, and Barro gained enough from his insights, to allow Lucas to smoke in his office. But no one else.
Or, on a more-personal level, here’s another application of the tradeoff insight. Here’s what I wrote about learning math from my father, a high-school teacher, during my last year of high school, a time when I hated his cigar smoke but I was desperate to learn math:
I learned math in school from teachers who were generally pretty good at it. In my last year of high school, though, we went through four math teachers, and my father, who was a public school teacher, taught me a pile of math at home, lying on his bed, smoking his cigar, while I gasped the fumes and grasped the concepts taught by a master.
The quote is from David R. Henderson, “Freedom and Education Versus ‘Public Schools,” in The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey.