In a recent Boston Herald (March 25, 2011), a Harvard economist, in his updated economics textbook claims that Tom Brady might not be using his time in a productive manner. Strange that an economics professor defines the value of time as money and fails to understand basic laws of supply and demand. Here’s the piece, with my comments below.
Tom Brady [stats] has no business mowing his own lawn. And for that matter, neither did Tiger Woods.
But 12 has replaced the scandal-plagued golf great in the latest edition of an introductory economics textbook used in scores of colleges across the country. And that’s because the Harvard prof who wrote the text wanted to keep students’ minds off the fairway philandering and on the bottom line!
“I thought Tiger Woods had a lot of associations that might distract the students from what we’re trying to focus on,” Crimson economist Greg Mankiw told the Track. “So I thought I’d choose an athlete that was less distracting. And since I’m from Boston, I picked Tom Brady.”
The QB/QT is used as an example of the benefits of specialization in a market economy in the sixth edition of “Principles of Economics.” He’s actually the third superstar athlete to illustrate the point since the book’s debut back in 1992. Michael Jordan was the original lawn guy, but the hoop legend was replaced by Tiger when he retired from the NBA.
“Celebrity athletes, despite their tremendous physical prowess, shouldn’t mow their own lawns,” Mankiw schooled us. “Because people benefit from specialization. The hour that Tom would spend mowing that grass would be better spent doing an endorsement or something. He should hire someone to mow his lawn. Tom is too valuable to do it, even if he can do it really quickly. It just doesn’t pay.”
Does Mr. Mankiw expect Tom Brady to monetize every hour of his life? He puts his body through hell and is in an intense media spotlight from August thru January. Should Tom not take walks with his wife and kids because that hour could be spent endorsing a product or making a paid appearance? Everybody has to have down time in life to unwind, whether it’s watching television or mowing the lawn. Nobody, including a Harvard Professor can work 24/7. Leisure time for Tom Brady is worth a lot.
Tom Brady understands that being an endorser for a large number of companies is counterproductive. Better to have high demand for your services with limited supply, so your value remains high, now and in the years to come.
If during the football season, Tom Brady is mowing his lawn, when he should be studying film for an upcoming game, yes he should pay a mowing company. But we know that nothing gets in the way of his football commitment whether the birth of his son or a car accident. He is completely focused on his job.
This story in the Boston Herald is simply a public relations push to use a big name sports star to generate publicity for an economics textbook. I would rather learn lessons on economics from Tom Brady than from this professor, because Tom Brady thrives in the real world.