The NFL referees have been on strike.  In their place the league has hired replacements in order to keep the season underway.  Word on the street is that the replacements are doing a distinctly terrible job. Writes Ed at Gin and Tacos:

Since professional and amateur football have different rules — in some cases very different — the results have been predictably disastrous. From their failure to do basic things like spot the ball and operate the game clock to major rules of which they appear to be totally ignorant, they have proven thus far that there is nothing they can’t botch.

Others, too, are finding humor in their ineptitude:

Ed wonders if NFL fans are internalizing the economic lesson in this debacle:

In a surplus labor market you can always find someone willing to do a job for less, but they’re probably not going to do it well. Even the type of person who blames the work stoppage on the union… can’t deny that the end result is the replacement of trained, experienced professionals with a clown car load of knuckleheads who act like they’ve never seen a football before.

He concludes, suggestively: “maybe all human capital is not interchangeable …and maybe there are some noticeable downsides to a market in which whoever will work for the least gets the job.”

The NFL, being entertainment and all, isn’t the best example, but when we apply the same logic to occupations like school teachers and air traffic controllers, we should sit up and notice.  Maybe at this moment, when something so beloved is at stake, it’ll raise America’s consciousness just a little bit.  Ed, for what it’s worth, isn’t optimistic.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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