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  •  "Paying the Math Tax" (22+ / 0-)

    That's what a close friend of mine calls it.  People who don't understand basic probability and statistics, paying a de-facto tax for their lack of math skills.  

    About the psychology of gambling for money

    Once when I was on business travel in Nevada, I figured this out:  It's about people who normally view money as something serious, even grim, being able to play with it like a toy for grownups.  By analogy, like soldiers playing paintball on a weekend.  

    Competitive gambling such as poker championships, is more in the same category as chess championships, which is a whole different thing.  And horse races are in that category as well, along with betting on sports in general.  But all the card games, roulette, and slot machines: the psychology of  those seems to me to have something to do with turning a deadly-serious thing into an amusement, thereby getting over some of the deadly-seriousness of it.  

    Think of a banker who during the work week makes decisions that put millions of dollars into play on investments that carry risk, and then on the weekend they go spend a few hundred bucks to just have fun with money.  

    When it's at that level I don't see a problem with it, any more than with professional pilots who spend money building radio-controlled large scale model aircraft and flying them on weekends.  

    When it twists the culture into something weird, for example promoting a mentality that everything in life is about luck rather than work (which produces a sense of learned helplessness), then I have a problem with it at a cultural level.  

    The Libertarian Democratic or progressive libertarian position should be

    Treat it in the same manner that porn is treated: legal but limited.  Private casinos, consenting adults, but limited by zoning to prevent it getting out of hand; and limited in other ways to prevent the gambling industry developing the power to distort the political process.  

    There could be small-scale gambling allowed in bars, subject to a license similar to a liquor license, where these licenses are restricted in number to keep it within reason.  And there could be large casinos as part of resort complexes, again subject to zoning to keep them few and far between.  As for internet gaming, that could be subject to age limits that are enforced with a requirement for a credit card.  

    However, don't use lotteries to fund public sector activities.  Use taxes.  That sounds counterintuitive for a libertarian position, but it's not:  if we want competent and effective government, we have to be willing to pay for it in a manner that is equitably distributed and establishes a direct relationship between what we're paying and what we're receiving.  "Indirect" methods for anything are tyrannical and cowardly policy, and that includes "taxes" that "are not taxes" such as lotteries.  

    And re. gambling addictions, use taxes on gambling to fund advertising of recovery programs, and subsidize the costs thereof to make them accessible.  There is no question that gambling addictions destroy lives and families, as does alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, but banning these things does not make those problems go away, and the state has no business interfering with everyone's right to make their own choices just because some percentage of individuals get into trouble with it.  Education is the best prevention, and readily available treatment is the necessary cure.  

    •  What's worse, our capital markets seem to have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Dvalkure

      acquired a casino-like aspect where financial speculation seems more allied to "gambling" than it does to capital formation.  Whenever things become too stable, the financial wizards invent new financial instruments for the suckers to gamble and lose money on.  Look at real estate, once it was both an investment and a place to call home, now it is a "flip this house" commodity that people trade like they were playing a real life game of monopoly.  When everything is financialized, luck is the most important factor, not hard work.  No wonder the country is growing more religious since we have come to rely on the actions of supernatural more than solid reality.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:04:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Our capital markets" (0+ / 0-)

        Have never been anything but legalised gambling for the very rich. And the game is routinely fixed. If interested look up the history of why they're called "stock" markets.

        As to why people gamble its' nothing so complex. Just simple hope. They think if i can get lucky just this one day, just this one time, it can change my life. And if not, no big loss (most of the time).

        As to the "math tax" hardcore gamblers understand statistics and probability far better than the above poster most likely. I dont gamble but always find it ironic that you can bet money the person making the snide remark is likely tens of thousands in debt for a status symbol we call a "car" as well as various and sundry other toys whos only purpose is to convey a status and worth they dont feel inately.

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

        by cdreid on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 10:14:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you just lost your bet (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cdreid, Dvalkure

          The car is a 1996 van used for commercial purposes, and it's paid for.  No consumer toys on the credit card; total credit card balances of less than $2k.  No mortgage either (in the Bay Area, heh that's funny).

          And the person who came up with the term "math tax" has zero debts aside from a five-figure, not six-figure, mortgage (at a fixed rate), for land he's building on, and he's building with his own hands.  

          Post your email address here and I'll write & tell you where you can send payment of the bet.  

          Oh yeah one more thing:



          •  Have a rec (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for the creative use of neener neener!

            I just dont like to see people judging especially about things neither of us understand. I dont gamble but know lots who do. Some are incredibly intelligent and can make my head swim with statistics and probability. And usually the people you see scoffing at them waste as much or more on their own silly pleasures.

            I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

            by cdreid on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:47:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  heh... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I don't gamble either.  When I've been in Las Vegas on business, I've put a few bucks in the slot machines just because it's the local custom; it's kind of amusing in a way.  But I don't know anything about cards or roulette or any of that.  Keno could be an interesting precognition test: guess the random numbers and win a reward:-)  My precognition scores are statistically significant but not quite enough to guess all the random numbers:-)

              But it's all about consenting adults.  I have my own vices, if you can call them that, and they're all paid for in cash (mmm, pizza, two slices of pepperoni here I come...).   If someone wants to gamble that's up to them.  

      •  right on target (0+ / 0-)

        All of what you posted, especially "Whenever things become too stable, the financial wizards invent new financial instruments for the suckers to gamble and lose money on."

        There is one subset of the financial industry that I'd refer to as oldschool bankers: people who are in favor of stability and prudence, clarity and fairness; who see their jobs as facilitating the financial wellbeing of the communities in which they live.  

        There is another subset who thrive on chaos, exactly as you describe.  

        The current climate favors the latter at the expense of the former.  However you'll find the former at small neighborhood credit unions, which are good safe places to keep your savings.  

    •  Stupidity tax (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Might be a more accurate description.

    •  it's the state sponsored gambling... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Dvalkure

      that is the absolute worst.  Targeted at the poor where they live and frequent.  The absolutely worst payouts percentages.  "Funding schools" -- that's only after UNSPEAKABLE overhead costs are deducted from the revenue that REAK of corruption.

      End state sponsored lotteries!

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