Clip of the Week: The Human Cost of the Olympics

*cue majestic fanfare* It's that season when revelers globally unite for the Winter Olympic games, where athletes compete in hopes of winning glory and honor for their home countries and the audience at home enjoys the spectacle of nationalism. This year the Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, with its opening ceremonies debuting this Friday. While the Olympics can be a time of unity, its effects are detrimental to the everyday people of its home cities. While it does often spark an economic boost for the city, at least briefly, historically, Olympic Games (and World Cups, Superbowls and other events of this scale) displace local citizens to build new stadiums, facilities and housing for incoming athletes and spectators, and those without the funds to move elsewhere become homeless. The Games are notoriously known as a catalyst for gentrification in host cities, pushing out the poorest-- the people who have bulit these communities-- in favor of a newer population who have little investment in maintaining the culture the community known for. Violence also befalls the displaced as local police enforce the fact that they are no longer welcome in their homelands, using brutality to remove them. Are the Olympic Games worth this cost of human life?

 

In this Clip of the Week, "Economic Update," economist and host Richard Wolff discusses the economic aftermath of the Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016 on an already-struggling country, with a high percentage of poor people, a neglected infrastructure, homelessness, and violence from agents of the state, as we think about the citizens of PyeongChang. Watch the whole episode now.