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

By Reuven Brenner

Even supposing monetary markets usually attempt to distance themselves from playing, the 2 elements have way more in universal than often proposal. whilst, traditionally there have been no monetary associations similar to banks, lotteries constituted the methods in 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. while 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." although the names have replaced, the activities undertaken have primarily stayed an analogous. This ebook 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 can be heading.

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Additional info for A World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street

Sample text

But it is impossible to reject the view that a variety of selfish, disguised interests, rather than sincere beliefs, have been behind ferocious attacks against gambling and other forms of entertainment. The accusers repeatedly achieved their goals of either eliminating the competition or myopically ensuring government bureaucracies of a tax base (though the alternatives would have been far better, as is discussed in later chapters). On occasion, one can find paper trails, like those in the recent Jack Abramoff scandal in Washington, that trace in minute detail the spread of false ideas about gambling in political circles.

30 Can a million people occasionally go wrong and suffer from herd instinct? The answer is yes – as the performance in financial markets of Warren Buffet and a few other extremely successful contrarians suggests, and as a few entrepreneurs in other activities, whether business, sciences, or the arts, suggest too. The contrarians in financial markets – call them gamblers, speculators, investors, or, in Buffet’s case, “oracle” – are entrepreneurs too, who have the skill of better understanding mispricing and the guts and credibility to access capital and then reallocate it.

Brenner of public opinion, appealing to deep-rooted prejudices, have a long history in people’s entertainment options in general, and on gambling-related ones in particular. When businesses fear competition, they use lobbyists, politicians, the priesthood, and pliable “intellectuals,” be they academics at universities or at think tanks – all part of what one may call the jargon, perceptionshaping business – to spread a variety of false, not to say strange, ideas. They do so to bring about legislation that protects the threatened enterprises and bureaucracies: some perhaps do so naively but sincerely.

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