Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why are we encouraging the lottery to increase inequality in our economy and society?

The national lottery – you've got to be in it to win it; it could be you; millions raised for good causes;... we all know the slogans and headlines – but is it actually causing more damage to our communities than good?

Lotteries tend to work on a pretty simple basis of wealth redistribution: everyone pays in a bit and someone gets the pot at the end. Effectively, we all make ourselves (the majority) a little poorer and someone else (the minority) a lot richer. Sounds a lot like the stuff that loads of people and campaigns are railing against at the moment when it happens in banking or politicians, but someone we don't seem to mind it when we've willingly made ourselves an active participant to the process...?

But what about the money it distributes to good causes? Well, yes – its supported a lot of good projects and activities, but to what extent is this just a sticking plaster over an increasingly big wound? - to what extent is the 'good' that it supports being surpassed by its model of encouraging and celebrating extreme wealth inequality?

Be fascinated to know if anyone’s done any research on this, or any social science or economic researches might be interested to look into this further...

(oh, and for the record – I don't play the lottery and never have: but only because I'm a saddo who's worked out the odds and realised I can make better use of the £ every week that would be otherwise spent on tickets and scratchcards...)