Who Needs Luck?

This is about lotteries. Working from a basic principle: Resources should be assigned according to need. A lottery, therefore, is only appropriate where needs are equal and there is no other way of deciding who is to benefit. So what implications are there for raffles, or the National Lottery?

Well, first I’d invite the reader to reconsider their conception of need and what they deserve. I have noticed that a lot of western profligate habits are conducted as a form of group madness where everybody justifies their own expenditures by reference to their neighbour. e.g. I will spend £100 on a tv rather than give it to a charitable cause because everybody else does that. These conceptions of what we ‘deserve’ from life, jobs and our paycheck are heavily bound up with how much we consider appropriate to give to charity. When there are global catastrophes, people ‘dig deep’ in response to emotive film star appeals and so forth, but why should we not seek to develop a more objective view about how much we give to charity?

Another way of looking at it is that there is a kind of lottery as to where we are born. Why do I suddenly deserve a much better lifestyle because I was born somewhere different i.e. the wealthy west rather than developing countries? Similarly, how do the demands of family weigh up against these needs? Try discussing them with your family – would they be happy with you giving to charity rather than buying them presents? There are very deep questions of value to be asked here – don’t just follow the crowd.

Still, I hear people discussing what they would do if they won the lottery. Naturally they would give ‘some’ to charity, but then they still justify keeping a very sizeable chunk for themselves/relatives etc. Granted, there can be wasteful and ill considered charitable projects, but assuming that the charitable cause is actually sound (based on developing self-sufficiency etc. ) then why do we sustain what appears to be a dramatic double standard?

So long as there are people in need, the levels of wealth and luxury enjoyed by the west seem at great odds with those elsewhere in the world. I do appreciate that ‘money makes money’ and that we would not be making so much money if we were giving so much away (and hence would not then be able to give much away anyway) but the standards are so wildly different I do not think this is even remotely reasonable. The impression of charitable giving as the lightest skimming off the top seems much more accurate. That big companies are happy to do this might make us wonder how they are able to do so with such ease? Is it such small potatoes for them really, but still worth it for the PR stunt?

Whatever happened to working for just reward? I don’t want to be overpaid for my efforts, or underpaid. I want a reasonable wage. Pinning hopes on a lottery ‘escape ticket’ from your mundane life is very sad. Work to make your life better, and those around you. If you can spare money on a dream, then give that dream to someone who needs it more than you. Personally, if there is a worthy cause, I give to it. I don’t want a raffle ticket to motivate me through some selfish desire. Sell the prize and donate that as well. And next time you would buy a lottery ticket, give it straight to a more worthy cause.