Home > Economics > Everywhere They Go, The Olympic Games Become An Excuse For Eviction And Displacement

Everywhere They Go, The Olympic Games Become An Excuse For Eviction And Displacement

George Monbiot writes in Monbiot.com and the Guardian:

Everything we have been told about the Olympic legacy turns out to be bunkum. The Games are supposed to encourage us to play sport; they are meant to produce resounding economic benefits and to help the poor and needy. It’s all untrue. As the evictions in London begin, a new report shows that the only certain Olympic legacy is a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

Both Lord Coe and the sports secretary Tessa Jowell, like the boosters for every city which has bid for the Olympics, have claimed that the Games will lever us off our sofas and turn us into a nation of athletes. But Jowell knows this is nonsense. In 2002, her department published a report which found that “hosting events is not an effective, value for money, method of achieving . . . a sustained increase in mass participation.” One study suggests that the Olympics might even reduce our physical activity: we stay indoors watching them on TV, rather than kicking a ball around outside. And this is before we consider the effects of draining the national lottery: Sport England will lose £100m.

The government’s favourite thinktanks, Demos and the Institute of Public Policy Research, examined the claim that the Olympics produce a lasting economic boom. They found that “there is no guaranteed beneficial legacy from hosting an Olympic Games … and there is little evidence that past Games have delivered benefits to those people and places most in need.” Tessa Jowell must be aware of this as well – she wrote the forward to the report. A paper published by the London Assembly last month found that “longterm unemployed and workless communities were largely unaffected [by better job prospects] by the staging of the Games in each of the four previous host cities”.

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