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

By Reuven Brenner

Even though monetary markets frequently try and distance themselves from playing, the 2 elements have way more in universal than often idea. whilst, traditionally there have been no monetary associations comparable to banks, lotteries constituted the methods wherein dear goods have been disposed of, and governments raised cash speedy. 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." this present day they're known as "hedge fund managers" or "bankers." even though the names have replaced, the activities undertaken have basically stayed a similar. This booklet indicates how dialogue on "chance," "risk," "gambling," "insurance," and "speculation" illuminates the place societies stood, the place we're this present day, and the place we might be heading.

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We are not saying the inheritance should be taxed away – it should not be. We only point out the inconsistency in the arguments of those who wanted – and still do – to prohibit gambling because it brings about a something-for-nothing mentality. Before we show the facts and sequence of events that brought about such statutes and examine gambling in this chapter as a pastime rather than from a risk and uncertainty angle, let us look at policies toward people’s choices P1: KXF/SCY P2: KXF/KAA P3: KXF/KAA QC: 9780521884662c02 CUUS191/Brenner 978 0 521 88466 2 20 June 16, 2008 13:33 Reuven Brenner and Gabrielle A.

Various commissions at the end of the nineteenth century could find no causal relationship between gambling and poverty, or between gambling and crime (other than that gambling was illegal, and P1: KXF/SCY P2: KXF/KAA P3: KXF/KAA QC: 9780521884662c02 CUUS191/Brenner 978 0 521 88466 2 28 June 16, 2008 13:33 Reuven Brenner and Gabrielle A. Brenner those who played were criminals. This accusation, though, is similar to those made under communism against entrepreneurs, even ones who just sold homemade food.

Such decisions offer better guidance for actions than do their alternatives. Deep, liquid, financial – speculative – markets turn out to be the best institutions for aggregating information. But to have such markets and achieve this goal, capital must be dispersed and there must be institutions in place to hold all parties to a transaction accountable (a path that is not quite smooth today because of P1: KXF/RZZ P2: KXF/KAA P3: KXF/... 30 Can a million people occasionally go wrong and suffer from herd instinct?

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