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JoshuaZ comments on Lotteries: A Waste of Hope - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 April 2007 05:36AM

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Comment author: TJIC 13 April 2007 12:58:37PM 2 points [-]

It seems to me that folks have all sort of utility functions that I do not. ...yet, we accept "entertainment" as a legitimate line item in a budget. If you enjoy going to the theater, but do not enjoy playing the lottery, what is the standard by which you can judge someone who has the reverse preferences as behaving stupidly ? If we look at the marginal cost of various entertainments (cable TV, buying hardcover books, etc.), playing the lottery isn't noticeably more expensive than any of the others.

Is there more to the attack on the lottery than mere classism?

More here.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 November 2010 06:27:55AM *  4 points [-]

Is there more to the attack on the lottery than mere classism?

Yes. Genuine concern for those not in my class. They are spending a tremendous amount of money on the lottery. Moreover, if you spend a small amount of time talking to people it is clear that they are playing not just for entertainment but often for a misguided understanding of probability. You'll hear people calling it "an investment" or saying that they "need to win sometime" or "eventually I'll win. I've lost so much. Now's my chance" or use religious feelings or sometimes statements by preachers that they are about to get wealth, etc. etc. The lottery is a method by which the upper classes tax the lower classes without the lower classes realizing they are being terribly taxed.