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

By Reuven Brenner

Even supposing monetary markets frequently attempt to distance themselves from playing, the 2 components have way more in universal than frequently notion. while, traditionally there have been no monetary associations reminiscent of banks, lotteries constituted the methods wherein pricey goods have been disposed of, and governments raised cash fast. playing tables fulfilled roles that enterprise capital and banking do this present day. "Gamblers" created clearinghouses and sustained liquidity. whilst these gamblers guess on rate distributions in futures markets, they have been redefined as "speculators." this present day they're referred to as "hedge fund managers" or "bankers." notwithstanding 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 will be heading.

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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. Opposition to cockfighting and bullbaiting reached a peak with a series of local acts against them. 19 This campaign had its class undertones: whereas the violent and bloody activities of the poor were all under attack (cock, dog, and bear fighting), fox hunting was not – which remains “high-class” entertainment to these days.

But rulers, judges, and priests were not the only groups threatened by people’s expression of belief in chance and their willingness to gamble, take risks, and leap into the unknown. Over time, a large number of ever-changing groups used the ancient prejudices to lobby for the outlawing of gambling and risk-taking. Who were these groups, and what were the wide variety of false accusations they invented that have brought about more confusing laws, regulations, and debates about gambling and risk-taking to this day?

Gamblers and risk-takers, when held accountable, have been very much part of the sequence of events that helped societies leap into the unknown. True, they committed mistakes when doing so. But they also corrected those mistakes and others quickly. There is no science to making decisions in the face of uncertainty – incalculable risks, that is. There cannot be. But there are ways to manage such uncertainty: the best way is to rely on information drawn from the bets of millions of people who put up money to back their ideas and challenge their luck.

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