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Ayn rand condemned buildings like pyramids or public monuments with the reason that they served no purpose at all other than the irrational need of the leaders to show their prestige. Similarly the olympics also has no purpose other than a show of prestige of the nations participating. I ask this question as i am thinking whether sport is a valid rational choice of a career as it is neither pro-life nor anti-life.I ask if it is rationally proper to choose a career in sport as it is not productive work as such. Other people cannot benefit from me playing some sport and thus i cannot, by playing a sport ,offer some value in exchange for another value(i.e. money).So if i pursue a career in sport i am to depend on the goodwill of the people who like watching it in order to be able to sustain my life? So in brief is sport a rational choice of career or just a hobby?

asked Jan 24 '13 at 23:44

milind's gravatar image


edited Feb 06 '13 at 14:35

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦


The people watching you play your sport don't do it out of good will. They watch you out of their own selfish interest to receive entertainment from it. The value you exchange for the money you receive is the entertainment value gained by the viewers, and the increase in sales received by your sponsors due to you wearing/promoting their brand. This value may be hard to quantify I'll admit however their is still a valid exchange taking place. Your purpose is to attain your own happiness, if playing a sport professionally fulfills you then it is in your long term interest to do so.

(Jan 25 '13 at 05:42) John Galt John%20Galt's gravatar image

so as businessmen need customers, sportspersons need viewers?

(Jan 25 '13 at 07:30) milind milind's gravatar image

Certainly. In nearly every country around the world, sports are considered a form of entertainment: both to participate in and to watch. A professional athlete trades his ability as an entertainer with those who are willing to pay for it. Sometimes this is very clear and direct (e.g., ticket sales for sporting events) and sometimes more indirect (e.g., a sports fan paying for pay-per-view, which goes through several steps before becoming the player's salary). So long as the athlete is willing to perform, and the fans are willing to pay to watch, it's a perfectly legitimate career.

answered Feb 04 '13 at 00:49

Andrew%20Miner's gravatar image

Andrew Miner ♦

The same is true for rock stars, and any other professional entertainer. Entertainment is a huge value to people, and they are, rationally, willing to pay big money for it.

(Feb 06 '13 at 15:23) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I must also add that being an athlete provides more than just entertainment to people. It provides a concrete example of the pursuit of excellence, through discipline, focus, and healthy living. People look up to athletes. Yes, some people overdo it, but athletes are valid heroes, to an extent.

(Feb 06 '13 at 15:27) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I don't think it's enough to just say that it's entertainment and therefore it's a rational career choice. Cock fighting is also found entertaining by some, but even most people who identify themselves as objectivists morally condemn participation in such "entertainment".

The answer about providing "a concrete example of the pursuit of excellence, through discipline, focus, and healthy living" is better. But on that point sports vary greatly, with some being quite unhealthy, especially at the pro level.

(Feb 06 '13 at 15:44) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 24 '13 at 23:44

Seen: 1,504 times

Last updated: Feb 06 '13 at 15:45