Monday, February 9, 2009

Reflections on a lottery ticket

Ordinary people in this country are inhumanly patient with the fatcats who lecture them constantly about not saving enough etc. My personal favorite among these is a screed that reappears regularly in the pages of lofty journals with circulations of about 10,000 like-minded people: the point is always how stupid the poor and humble are to buy lottery tickets, given the astronomical odds against winning. But here's something these people know that some asshole at Harvard doesn't. The odds of a janitor or a pizza deliverer becoming wealthy via the lottery may be one in a trillion, but the odds of becoming wealthy via the social and economic mechanisms of this "meritocratic democracy" are ZERO! Looked at in this way, a $1 flyer on the Mega-Millions is an overlay.

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