A World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street by Reuven Brenner

By Reuven Brenner

Even supposing monetary markets frequently try and distance themselves from playing, the 2 components have way more in universal than frequently inspiration. while, traditionally there have been no monetary associations comparable to banks, lotteries constituted the methods through which pricey goods have been disposed of, and governments raised funds fast. playing tables fulfilled roles that enterprise capital and banking do this present day. "Gamblers" created clearinghouses and sustained liquidity. whilst these gamblers wager on cost distributions in futures markets, they have been redefined as "speculators." at the present time they're known as "hedge fund managers" or "bankers." even though the names have replaced, the activities undertaken have basically stayed an identical. This booklet indicates how dialogue on "chance," "risk," "gambling," "insurance," and "speculation" illuminates the place societies stood, the place we're this day, and the place we could be heading.

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In 1906 Arthur Shadwell, in his Industrial Efficiency: A Comparative Study of Industrial Life in England, Germany and America, described the English working class as “the most indolent and degenerate section of ‘a nation at play’ . . Money that the workers should have ‘invested’ in British industry . . ”46 The British failed to pay attention at the time to the quite well-known pattern of declining entrepreneurial spirit in countries that lose their young and restless, who migrate to new shores with greater opportunities.

35 Although toward the end of the eighteenth century Adam Smith argued that no society can be “flourishing or happy, of which a greater part of the members are poor and miserable,” many still believed in the mercantilist P1: KXF/SCY P2: KXF/KAA P3: KXF/KAA QC: 9780521884662c02 CUUS191/Brenner 978 0 521 88466 2 June 16, 2008 Anything Wrong with Gambling as a Pastime? 13:33 27 doctrine of the utility of poverty. From this angle, having a large low-wage economy was beneficial, for otherwise the country could not export.

And the reason for this . . 18 Observers saw the breakdown as directly linked to the rising population and to the movement from villages to cities, and to the resultant breakdown P1: KXF/SCY P2: KXF/KAA P3: KXF/KAA QC: 9780521884662c02 CUUS191/Brenner 978 0 521 88466 2 June 16, 2008 Anything Wrong with Gambling as a Pastime? 13:33 23 in the effectiveness of family and traditional institutions in enforcing discipline. The perceived breakdown, combined with the new range of entertainment options to fit the new working hours, shed light on the unusual alarm with which many viewed new recreational choices, blood sports, gambling, and drinking prominent among them.

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