2024 Olympic bidders now a two horse race

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It seems that now that Budapest (Hungary) has pulled out of the 2024 Olympic bid meaning Paris & LA are the only ones to remain in the hunt. While many countries go out of their way spending small fortunes on ingratiating themselves with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 260,000 signatures called for the bid to be halted and the money redirected at hospitals and schools. Is this yet another signal of restless natives getting fed up with the misallocation of state resources to boost egos not services?

It makes perfect sense. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are becoming a laughing stock in terms of massive cost overruns, stadium and logo redesigns and proposals to locate some events in pre-existing facilities outside of the Tokyo metro. Of course the IOC in all of its greed wants to impose its will to ensure that money is spent on brand new facilities with no hope of future return (just exorbitant cost to the taxpayer in ongoing maintenance) to the host city in which will selfihsly boost their income with little consideration for citizens. We can only imagine the type of pandering, entertainment and gift giving to IOC officials that goes on to secure a bid.

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To give an idea on how scrimp and save the Tokyo Olympics is becoming the city went on a drive last week to collect people’s old mobile phones to raid them for gold extraction. Now I am not sure how many mobile phones are required to make one gold plated medal but surely the drive sounds more like people turning in pots and pans during the war to be turned into munitions. While I can see the merit of people recycling unused materials I can’t see this being a game changer. Tokyo itself is still financially very sound (refer Figs 17-28 of the link) but the groans of waste and overly generous contracts is growing louder.

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We can see the state of disrepair after the Rio Olympics. The vast investment which went in now will require huge financial inputs just to maintain it. They’ve forgone that. I doubt Tokyo would ever let its infrastructure fall into such a state but for a country struggling to pay off huge debts and rescue its parlous finances (Tokyo excluded), this Olympics frolic looks like a bad idea. After the debacle over the logo, the ripping up of the original stadium which was then replaced by one made partially from wood (where a naked flame will burn for two weeks) and the continuous cost overruns Tokyo should not have bothered.

It is clear that the Olympic bidding wars of late are a good tell tale sign of how citizens are wanting their governments to fix their financial problems rather than spend up big on a party which will give temporary illusions of grandeur. Japan has enough attractions in and of itself to require an Olympics to push tourism. Many more citizens in Tokyo are no doubt questioning why they bothered to spend all this money. Japan does not have the deep sporting culture to justify the erection of massive stadiums to the scale intended to sustain 40,000 audiences every week.

Await the herd of white elephants in Tokyo. Let us not underestimate the example of the Hungarians to reject government waste and focus on turning the economy into a position of sustainable growth rather than pet public projects to give the illusion that unemployment is falling and GDP is expanding. Perhaps the world’s governments should nominate parliament members for the 100m kick the can down the road race.

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