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Gambling and Speculation: A Theory, a History, and a Future of some Human Decisions
     

Gambling and Speculation: A Theory, a History, and a Future of some Human Decisions

by Reuven Brenner, Gabrielle A. Brenner (With)
 
Gambling and Speculation takes the long, historic perspective of its controversial subject. The book offers not only a better understanding of the recent "gambling craze," but also a fundamental inquiry into human nature and the structure of societies. The Brenners argue that the negative image of gamblers and of speculators stems from prejudice, whose roots are in

Overview

Gambling and Speculation takes the long, historic perspective of its controversial subject. The book offers not only a better understanding of the recent "gambling craze," but also a fundamental inquiry into human nature and the structure of societies. The Brenners argue that the negative image of gamblers and of speculators stems from prejudice, whose roots are in the distant, forgotten past. Legal scholars have frequently confused gambling with speculation and the anti-gambling laws were, at times, erroneously interpreted as implying the prohibitions of contracts in futures and insurance markets. One consequence of all this confusion was that during this century both in the United States and England, the legislation and law on betting and gambling became ambiguous. The authors touch on this issue and make policy recommendations: to abolish restrictions on the industry, diminish the states' role in selling lotteries, and, at the same time, make legal distinctions capable of helping the tiny percentage of players who might be "addicted." The Brenners' recommendations on gambling are based on their conclusion that gamblers are neither "mentally ill" nor "criminals" and that gambling does not lead its practitioners to poverty. Rather, it is the other way around: some of the poor and the frustrated gamble. Looking at gambling in this way leads to questions about the nature of society: What do the fortunate do for those who are not? What is society's obligation to people who fall behind in the game of life? Answers to these questions require a discussion on the principles of equality, capitalism, the role of religious influence on society, topics that the Brenners have discussed in their previous studies, and they do so here too, putting gambling within its proper, historical context.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gambling and Speculation presents an intelligent advocacy position in favor of the legalization of gambling. It pulls together information that is fascinating from both an historic perspective and a traditional economic perspective. The book is a significant contribution to the growing body of serious literature dealing with the phenomenon of gambling." William R Eadington, University of Nevada, Reno; Director, Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming

"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

"This is a novel defense of an unfamiliar proposition, advocating the legalization of gambling. The argument of the book is easy to follow and, as usual with Brenner, he is provocative and interesting. His historical remarks bring forth much that I did not know, and , needless to say, the theme of gambling and its appropriate social role is significant and topical." William H. McNeill, University of Chicago

"...a very provocative discussion which should prove enlightening to all readers. Given the current debate over lotteries in many states, this work is recommended reading for policy makers and lay readers who desire more background on this timely topic." Roger Tutterow, Southern Economic Journal

Paul Seabright
The [governments] efforts to ban or restrict gambling, under an astonishing variety of pretexts, are documented with barely concealed scorn by Reuven and Gabrielle Brenner ... The Brenner's purpose is not simply to expose historical humbug. They advance their own theory why people gamble, and use it to argue for an incerased social and legislative tolerance of gambling, as well as of speculation in stock markets ... If you believe the Brenners' account of why people gamble, that could have important consequences for our economy and society as a whole. -- (Paul Seabright, The Times Literary Supplement, December 14-20, 1990
David Warsh
Brenner is a maverick economist ... who has written extensively on rivalry and uncertainty in a steady stream of books and artcles since 1983. The most recent is Gambling and Speculation. He's well outside the mainstream of what university-based economists are doing, tackling topics far bigger than those with which economists are comfortable ... Do Brenner's notions fit the situation ...? Pretty well. -- (David Warsh, The Boston Sunday Globe, August 5, 1990)
Victor Emerson
This book is clearly not for everyone. The 142 pages of scholarly prose are supplemented by 60 pages of appendices and 45 pages of footnotes. While this may sound like a recipe for somnolence, some academic readers will perk up when the Brenners take on Kahneman and Tversky, two high-profile risk-assessment gurus. Interesting in content and perspective, Gambling and Speculation is a good bet for readers wanting a formal treatement of this aspect of human behavior. --(Victor Emerson, Weekend Observer, Ottawa Citizen, 28 July, 1990)
Mark Griffiths
If the aim of the authors was to redress the balance with a clear, articulated historical economic account of gambling across the social spectrum, they have indeed succeeded. By taking a wider view of gambling and distinguishing it from similar activities such as speculation, and tracing attitudes and prejudices towards gambling in their historical context, it gives added depth to many of the arguments and assertions made throughout the book ... The book will appeal ... to lawyers, legislators, economists, statisticians and historians who will find the book useful and interesting ... However, other scholars (psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, social anthropoligists etc.) who are seriously involved in the study of gambling from all its persepectives should read it. -- (Mark Griffiths, Journal of Economic Psychology, 1991)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521381802
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/28/1990
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are Saying About This

David R. Steele
Brenner's is the best book ever written on gambling. -- (David R. Steele, Liberty, September, 1997)

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