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A Dollar and a Dream

March 12th, 2007 · No Comments

The New York Times considers whether playing the lotto is “irrational.” Money quote:

Addiction researchers and some economists struggle to explain this behavior, describing it at best as an irrational fever, and at worst a pathological addiction to a regressive, government-run numbers game.

But researchers spend little time in corner-store lines.

“The people who denigrate lottery players are like 10-year-olds who are disgusted by the idea of sex: they are numb to its pleasures, so they say it’s not rational,” said Lloyd Cohen, a professor of law at George Mason University and author of an economic analysis, “Lotteries, Liberty and Legislatures,” who is himself a gambler and a card counter.

Dr. Cohen argues that lottery tickets are not an investment but a disposable consumer purchase, which changes the equation radically. Like a throwaway lifestyle magazine, lottery tickets engage transforming fantasies: a wine cellar, a pool, a vision of tropical blues and white sand. The difference is that the ticket can deliver.

HT: Laure.

Tags: Nannyism