Sunday, September 16, 2012

Playing A Game No One Wins

A couple of hours ago, the collective bargaining agreement between the owners of the thirty National Hockey League teams and the players officially expired.  With no agreement in place, the labor force is locked out and the work stops.

Obviously, when the work stops, so does the revenue.  That money is lost forever because with each passing day, the opportunity to play expires. Consequently, all involved parties will lose play by these rules.  

Author Seth Godin made this exact point during the National Football League's labor dispute last year.  His solution is to change those rules.

Instead of a system where all stakeholders will lose something, Godin suggests that they keep playing and put all money earned into an escrow account that no one gets to touch.  The money earned piles up and motivation to come to an agreement grows.  Finally, when that day comes, the money is divvied up accordingly.

Option A is to keep playing this game of chicken where everyone loses something.  Option B is to keep playing and both sides will realize a windfall at the end.

It seems like a easy choice.  Yet, for the third time in eighteen years, the NHL finds itself once again playing in a game where absolutely no one wins.   

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