|About the Book|
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 societys 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.