A World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street / Edition 2

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About the Author:
Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and is a partner at Match Strategic Partners

About the Author:
Gabrielle A. Brenner is associate professor of economics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Montreal, Canada

About the Author:
Aaron Brown is risk manager for AQR Capital Management in Greenwich, Connecticut

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Editorial Reviews

Asia Times
A World of Chance undermines our usual view of "economic man" and substitutes the angst-ridden, uncertain denizen of a world that offers no certainties, and requires risk-taking as a matter of survival ... Permit me to leave the thought that for providing a theoretical foundation for the counter-intuitive behavior of American taxpayers, the Brenners deserve the Nobel Prize in economics.
From the Publisher
"Did you know that the modern insurance industry is a direct outgrowth of gambling? Did you know that poker provided one of the most important sources of capital for penniless Western frontiersmen in the United States? Did you know that major opera houses of Europe began as gambling halls with the theaters attached (history, if not always the quality of music, repeats itself in Las Vegas)? Do you know the real reason the NFL resists the legalization of sports betting in America? For the fascinating answers and insights into the politics, the finance, and the economics of that over-maligned pastime, gambling, and, yes, including the surprising role it has frequently played in finance – read A World of Chance. The odds are strong that you will love it." - Henry G. Manne, Dean Emeritus, George Mason Law School

"A World of Chance undermines our usual view of 'economic man' and substitutes the angst-ridden, uncertain denizen of a world that offers no certainties and requires risk-taking as a matter of survival.... For providing a theoretical foundation for the counter-intuitive behavior of American taxpayers, the Brenners deserve the Nobel Prize in economics." - Asia Times

"No one since Joseph Schumpeter has done more than Reuven Brenner to put risk-taking and innovation at the center of economic theory." - Laury Minard, Forbes

"...a fine, freshly produced reference for those presenting the argument about pros and cons of gambling versus Wall Street and how they compare in the 21st Century." - Howard Schwartz, The Gamblers Bookshop

"A World of Chance puts up a stout defense of gambling both as a form of entertainment and source of hope.... The book does an excellent job of disassembling all the bogus arguments for keeping lotteries and other forms of gambling under state control, and in particular highlights the self-interested nature of the assault on internet gaming, which is a threat neither to national security nor public morals." - Peter Foster, National Post

"The relationship between gambling and finance (let alone religion and politics) eludes even the most erudite among us because it is clouded in misunderstanding, prejudice and good, old-fashioned politics. Reuven Brenner, Gabrielle A. Brenner, and Aaron Brown have written several books in praise of gambling. In this book, they draw insights from sociological theories of gambling and propose a risk-taking model of expected utility. They use it to disentangle the relationship between fortune and providence, democracy and autocracy, chance and mobility. It is a tall order, but... they succeed admirably." - Nikolaos Zahariadis, Perspectives on Politics

Praise for Gambling and Speculation:
"Brenner is one of the freshest writers I have read in economics, willing to introduce himself into his prose and express (sometimes outrageous) opinions. I like to read him." - Richard C. Rockwell, Social Science Research Council

Praise for Rivalry:
"This is an important book. Schumpeter would have been impressed." - Graham Bannock, Business Economist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521711579
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/2008
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and is a partner in Match Strategic Partners. The author of seven other books, including Gambling and Speculation (Cambridge University Press, 1990, with Gabrielle A. Brenner) and Rivalry: In Business, Science, Among Nations (Cambridge University Press, 1987), he examines what makes societies and firms leapfrog over others or fall behind them. The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Times of London, Asia Times, and Smart Money have reviewed his books. He has also served as a consultant to companies such as the Bank of America, Bell Canada, and Knowledge Universe, and he has worked with financial institutions throughout North America. Brenner has also been a frequent commentator in leading media around the world. Forbes Global's columnists have put two of Professor Brenner's titles on their list of recommended books for all time and profiled him in a cover story titled 'Leapfrogging'. He has served on the board of several companies, received a Fulbright Fellowship and the Killam Award, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Gabrielle A. Brenner is Associate Professor of Economics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Montreal, Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago and has written about risk taking, entrepreneurship, and anti-trust. Professor Brenner worked at Lexecon and has also served as a consultant to the World Bank, UNIDO, and CIDA.

Aaron Brown is risk manager for AQR Capital Management in Greenwich, CT. He holds degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard University and finance from the University of Chicago. He has worked as a trader, portfolio manager, head of mortgage security, and risk manager for such Wall Street firms as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup; taught finance at Fordham and Yeshiva universities; and ran a public mutual fund. Mr Brown is the author of The Poker Face of Wall Street.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvii
From Religion to Risk Management: What to Do When Facing Uncertainty?   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A. Brenner     1
Origins of Lasting Prejudice     3
Volatile Beliefs     5
From Religion to Risk, from Lots to Betting     6
Chance and Providence: Upstairs, Downstairs     13
Conclusion     15
Anything Wrong with Gambling as a Pastime?   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A. Brenner     17
What Did Gambling Have to Do with Military Readiness?     18
Prohibitions on New Ways of Having Fun     20
English Prohibitions on Poor People's Pastimes     21
If Not Cockfights, How About a Drink?     24
Secular Theories Condemning Gambling     26
If There Are No Circuses for the Masses, How to Calm Them Down?     28
How Did the United States Come to Prohibit Drinking?     29
The 1906 Act and Since: Familiar Patterns     31
The Change in English Attitudes and Laws     32
Law and Gambling in the New World     33
Conclusion     35
Are You Rich? Risk-Taking and Gambling, or the Leapfrogging Instinct   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A.Brenner     38
If You Are Not Rich, What Do You Do?     40
Facts     44
The Attraction of Big Prizes     44
The Poor and Those Falling Behind     45
Reversal of Fortune     49
Statistical Analysis: Correcting Its Pitfalls     52
Are Gamblers Reckless or Criminals?     54
What Do Winners Do with the Money?     59
Compulsive Gamblers: An Aside     62
Conclusion     66
Betting on Futures and Creating Prices   Reuven Brenner     67
False Ideas: Bad Laws, Bad Policies     68
Back to Basics     70
The Tulipmania That Never Was: Part 1     74
More on Insurance and Gambling     76
Legal Confusions and Political Debates: Property Rights and Prices     77
Stabilizing and Destabilizing Speculations     81
Telecommunications and Speculation; or, How to Outlaw the Competition     84
Gamblers and Speculators: More Confusions     86
Gambling as Banking: Poker, Junk Bonds, and Central Banks   Reuven Brenner   Aaron Brown     90
Gambling Is Not a Zero-Sum game     91
Preventing Financial Intermediation by Law: Protecting Noblemen      98
The Volatile Road to Democratized Capital     100
Volatile Ranks and Taking Chances     101
When the Rich and Poor Intermingle, Lessons for the John Laws     102
The Tulipmania That Never Was: Part 2     105
Gambling in Venice     108
Banking on Gamblers     111
From Poker Banks to Clearinghouses     116
Poker Banks and Junk Bonds     118
From Banking on Gambling to Gambling on Central Banking     121
Lottery Is a Taxation, and Heav'n Be Prais'd, It is Easily Rais'd   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A. Brenner     124
Lotteries and Public Finance     131
Lottery Finance by English Governments     133
Lottery Finance in the New World: Origins of Investment Banking     138
From Lotteries to Banking     140
Toward Prohibition     141
Lotteries as Public Finance in Canada     142
The Rebirth of Lotteries     143
If Not Lotteries, Then Sweepstakes     145
Gambling Today in America     147
Politics and Prohibitions; or, What's a Good Tax Anyway?   Reuven Brenner     150
Lotteries as a Regressive Tax: An Irrelevant Argument     151
Theories of Taxation without Foundations      153
How Do Governments Spend the Money?     155
Gamblers at Opera's Gates     157
Legalizing Gambling to Bring Prosperity     161
What Is a Good Tax; or, Who Guards the Guardians?     166
Impacts of Prohibition     168
Prohibitions in the United States and Elsewhere     169
Other Impacts of Prohibition in the United States     172
Taxing Foreigners     173
Prohibitions in the United Kingdom and the United States     175
Why Do American Sports Leagues Oppose Sports Betting and Online Gambling?     179
Sports Betting Update: The Donaghy File (by Aaron Brown)     182
Online Gambling     186
Problems and Solutions     189
How Gamblers and Risk-Takers Correct the Future   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A. Brenner     194
Betting on Ideas, and Matters of Trial and Error     198
How Did Some Societies Come to Tolerate Risk-Takers and Gamblers?     200
Capital Markets and Models of Society     204
Natural Resources Are No Mothers of Invention     206
Creating Wealth and the Movement of the Vital Few     208
Happiness and Luck     210
Gambling and Risk-Taking: The Leapfrogging Instinct   Reuven Brenner     213
Introduction     213
Gambling and the Leapfrogging Instinct     214
Why Do Lotteries Have Multiple Prizes?     218
Insurance: Preventing the Falling Behind     220
Stopping Rules: How Much to Gamble? How Much to Insure?     222
Risk-Taking and Uncertainty: Leaping into the Unknown     223
Doing Their Best: What "Maximization" Means     231
Risk, Uncertainty, and Information     232
Wealth, Risk, and Uncertainty     233
Stability, Redistribution, and Progressive Taxation of Wealth     235
Comparisons with Other Approaches     239
Conclusion     249
Human Nature and the Civilizing Process   Reuven Brenner     251
Bets on Ideas     251
Creativity, Uncertainty, and Risk-Taking     253
A Statistical Profile of Gamblers   Reuven Brenner   Gabrielle A. Brenner   Claude Montmarquette     257
Quebec Data     257
Canadian Data     260
How to Correct for Undeclared Lottery Expenditures     266
Results     271
Conclusion     271
Notes     273
Bibliography     309
Name Index     325
Subject Index     332
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