Globalization and The Olympics (Part II)

As mentioned in our previous post (Globalization & the Olympics (Part I),  the Olympics, as well as sports in general, are a zero-sum-game. In contrast, and most fortunately, the globalization phenomena is not. Thus, in the globalization socio-economic phenomena at large, the possibilities are virtually unlimited. This rarely recognized, virtuous characteristic of globalization has to do with the fact that global society’s unsatisfied needs, by themselves signal the right course of action to follow. The signals of the road to follow are of a very varied nature, being the price mechanism one of the most important ones.

This course of action concept is a universal one, and as such, applicable to any human level: individual, corporate or nation. The course of action to follow is constantly signaled by huge opportunities in a myriad of activities in every area: from the glittering-headline-grabbing high-tech area, to less glamorous yet indispensable activities for human well-being (from lodging and restaurants, to taking care of children, the elderly, and gardening, among hundreds of activities). This is why so many nations in all corners of the planet (companies and individuals too) have not only adapted, but have been handsomely profiting from globalization. Those individuals, companies and nations, have made the right reading about what’s going on and where, and diligently have prepared themselves for those opportunities. Beyond the profitable areas of endeavor detected, being permanently prepared to learn new approaches, with an open, flexible mind, is the most valuable asset anyone can have, at the three levels previously mentioned. In that respect, in my book, GLOBALIZATION, numerous successful examples are provided.

In a nutshell, there are a few very important points to highlight when making the comparison between the Olympics and globalization:

  • Like in the Olympics, in globalization the most adequate mindset is the one that better suits competition: adequate prior training, high spirits, effective teamwork, and so on.
  • Like in the Olympics, globalization has to be a very orderly process, with clear cut rules, widely known by all participants. Big problems can be avoided if this aspect is adequately observed.
  • Like in the Olympics, the fundamental spirit behind globalization must be a joyful one, of gratitude to be able to access the global market, provided that the adequate preparatory work has been done appropriately.
  • Unlike in the Olympics,  given that globalization is not of a zero-sum-game nature, there is room for everyone, provided that major impediments to improve competitiveness are removed. Prejudice, fear and ignorance are usually behind the huge and very common impediments to raise competition in most places on Earth. In short, the key word of the successful globalization game is competitiveness.

In early July, from the 4th to the 16th of July, the 53d edition of the International Mathematical Olympiadtook place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. There were 548 contestants from 100 nations. This competition is for students younger than 20, not yet enrolled in universities. This annual event, that initiated in 1959 with only 7 countries in competition, was practically unmentioned in most media. Granted, a math olympics is not as glamorous as the sports Olympics. Nonetheless, knowledge and organization, in all shapes and forms is what successful competition in the global arena is all about. Unquestionably, there is plenty of room for improvement in the global society mindset, in order to better capitalize the many opportunities available for the organized, hard working teams, be it at the company or country levels.

The Olympics are an excellent manifestation of mankind’s high spirits. They are also, in many respects, a splendid testimonial and an unsurpassable role model for the globalization process at large.

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About Martin Marmolejo

Global Investment Manager | Founder & Managing Director at MMA Global Investment Management | Proud husband and father | Follow me @globalmarmolejo.


  1. A sports & globalization fan myself, I really enjoyed your post. Comparing sports to globalization is absolutely fair and of course very appealing at this time point. However, maybe there is a little bit of a stretch in at least one of the arguments…. a stretch that once revealed might as well help to further strengthen your main arguments.

    It might be compelling to agree for some people that sports are zero sum games. However, that might well depend upon the underlying framework someone is using to agree/disagree with such a statement. For instance, agreeing with such a statement assumes that your´re taking the final outcome of the sport interaction as the exclusive measure of success/failure of participation, therefore the “zero sum game” reference.

    However, what if we take the olympic spirit as conceptualized by the greeks as our reference? Wouldn´t that be more like globalization? By no means should we disregard the displays of nationalism, commerce and politics entailed by the Olympic event per se. But wouldn´t we be comfortable enough acknowledging that even though an athlete does not achieve the maximum prize (gold medal) he still achieved a better life through sports? Wouldn´t that be very much alike the Adam´s Smith invisible hand? Is that the reason why “prices” and “prizes” look very much alike even etymologically?

    • Martin Marmolejo says:

      Thank you COG. I fully agree with your argument; you have raised a good point. And yes, even if an athlete doesn’t end up in the podium, the mere fact of having been selected to compete is an exceptional feat, in addition to the multiple benefits you mention derived from maintaining a sports lifestyle.

      From a holistic perspective, globalization should be about orderly competition, the type that tends to add value for everyone engaged in it. The sports and globalization comparison with the zero sum game outcome, as the most extreme case, was chosen adhering to the a maiore ad minus principle. That extreme comparison scenario was deliberately chosen to emphasize a relatively unknown and extraordinarily virtuous fact about globalization: if it is carried out in a reasonable manner, practically everyone could end up being a winner, in his/her/its own way (individual, and/or company, and/or national levels).


  1. […] life, if not appropriately done, any human endeavor can lead to conflict and even worse outcomes. Part II of this post elaborates on the Olympics under the light of competitiveness and knowledge, two of the basic […]

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