The Undercover Economist: What will the Olympics ever do for us?

At Sunday’s closing ceremony, the Olympic flag will be handed over to London; the next Olympic Games are to be hosted just down the road from the Undercover Economist. Should we east Londoners expect great things?

A wonderful sporting spectacle is assured, but that will be available to anyone with a television or a tourist visa. Not that the world necessarily queues outside the Olympic stadium: fewer people visited Barcelona in 1992, its Olympic year, than in 1991.

If a sporting spectacle was all that was promised, the games would be an unproblematic affair. The Los Angeles games in 1984 focused on the sport, using existing facilities and renting student dorms instead of building an athletes’ village. It turned a huge profit.

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Publishing schedule: Excerpts from "The Undercover Economist" and "Dear Economist", Tim's weekly columns for the FT Magazine, are published on this blog on Saturday mornings.
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