Maradonas divine goal and worthy absurdities – Mint

Posted: November 29, 2020 at 6:08 am

No goal has riveted eyeballs quite like the Hand of God" one scoredor stolenby Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, whose life was claimed by a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 60, loved for his mastery of the game, admired for his art as much as artifice, and a rare player who could send up a great groan across the globe each time he took a fall, his fandom mostly intact through a run of latter-day addictions (and all that befell him thereafter). The goal for Argentina that appears to have granted him immortality was against England in a 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter- final, a match fraught with the fallout of their 1982 Falklands War, which saw the former fail to wrest control of islands off its coast long held under British colonial rule. On the field that day, Argentina won 2-1, thanks to a ball fisted into the net by a leaping Maradona. Mistaken as a header by the Tunisian referee, the goal was awarded, though our impish master of sleight would later admit divine intervention. It was scored, he said, a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God". It was absurd, of course, but an absurdity that had popular endorsement all the same. For, it was his second goal, struck four minutes later with a delightfully-dribbled run all the way from the Argentine half to the English goalpost that wowed us enough to call it the Goal of the Century" and hail his greatness. That strike alone was seen to be worth two on the scoreboard. Surely, it deserved as much, did it not?

What seems bizarre to some could be just another shrug-and-move-on matter for others. Think of the endless loop of Argentinas sovereign debt, its defaults, and its tango with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As it happens, the country is back trying to defer its dues to the lender, some $44 billion of it this time, having won an IMF package to avert a default just two years ago. It routinely imports more than it exports, watches its peso fall, sees local prices of imported goods soar, runs short of dollars, has tight-money and fiscal-austerity plans imposed, then reopens public coffers to quell unrest and ends up staring at its next crisis. Arguably, what its economy needs is export competitiveness, a ground-up exercise, rather than periodic fixes of macro policy.

Speaking of absurdity, perhaps the worlds most apparent one nowadays is the price inversion seen in financial markets, where investors have been piling into negative-yield bonds. In effect, borrowers are getting paid to borrow money. As debt issuers, Europe and China have both been beneficiaries of this. A closer look, however, reveals an explanation. For one, it is a direct outcome of the super-cheap lending done by major central banks to stimulate covid-crunched commercial activity. Once official interest rates are pushed to negligible levels, they could drop below zero in real terms anyway (if inflation is higher). For another, market rates on debt can go into the minus zone if theres a rush for overpriced bonds, and there currently exists robust demand for negative-yield paper that is not irrational. Such securities are usually secure, backed as they are by governments, and thus serve as safe havens in uncertain times. They also act as a deflation hedge. Moreover, if downward pressures on rates persist, they can even be sold off for more money. All said, if the usual rules of play can bend so easily in the credit arena, why not in a football stadium?

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Maradonas divine goal and worthy absurdities - Mint

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