Are these things that are little more than make-work in our economy?In response to a previous posting about casinos and lottery tickets I received an e-mail from an economist who posited that there is "entertainment value" in lottery tickets as the purchaser finds some amusement in them worth a dollar.And I suppose this is so, although the amusement level is worth about what you pay for it.
We once again visited a Casino where a friend of a friend is a "high roller" and having to use up his "points" he invited us to a free buffet supper. For all the flashing lights and glitz and glamour, though, it was an unglamourous place - most of the patrons were decidedly middle and lower-middle-class people who were living on borrowed money and could ill-afford to gamble.
When I saw a 500+ pound man at the buffet (in a three-wheeled scooter) I lost my appetite. And by the way, these casinos have computerized the entire "comp" thing.
You use a credit card or special card for all your gambling and then acquire frequent gambler (gamer) points just like the airlines.
And just like the airlines, it is a game you literally can't win.
I got to thinking the other day, which is always dangerous.
Economics has always been considered a "dark art" and not long ago many thought that the foundation of any economy was in farming and food production. Meeting our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are really all that is essential to staying alive.
And quite frankly, we probably could shiver naked in the rain so long as we were well-fed.
But of course, very early in our human history (and animal history before that, if there is such a thing) - or more precisely, pre-history - some clever caveman figured out that farming and hunting was fine and all, but it would be a lot simpler to simply kill your neighbor and then take all the things he has worked so hard to acquire.
So self-defense (and the need to form tribes, villages, governments, and armies) quickly became a "necessity" of life.