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The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British NovelAfterword: The Eighteenth-Century Risk Society

The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British Novel: Afterword: The... [In a New York Times op-ed essay published in 2008, the pundit David Brooks bemoans a supposed “deterioration of financial mores” in the United States that he feels betrays the “moral structure” of financial restraint built by the Puritans and Benjamin Franklin. Brooks blames this seeming decline on, among other factors, state governments that “aggressively hawk their lottery products.” In fact, lotteries were crucial funding instruments in the American colonial era and were used to raise money for a variety of institutions, including the Virginia Company, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Universities (Munting 13–14; Lears 70, 89). Financial history shows the inaccuracy of Brooks’s romance of financial probity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Instead, the line separating what is considered illegitimate gambling from legitimate speculation has been contested since the very origins of capitalism. Debate over government controls on risk-taking has likewise animated Anglo-American financial culture since Parliament simultaneously outlawed private lotteries and instituted state lotteries in the 1690s. Controversies over hedge funds, banking reform legislation, and austerity measures in our own day repeat these debates. Meanwhile lotteries, video sweepstakes, and online gambling tempt legislators looking for seemingly painless revenue sources, just as did lotteries in the 1690s.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British NovelAfterword: The Eighteenth-Century Risk Society

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Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2011
ISBN
978-1-349-32662-4
Pages
169 –171
DOI
10.1057/9780230307278_8
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[In a New York Times op-ed essay published in 2008, the pundit David Brooks bemoans a supposed “deterioration of financial mores” in the United States that he feels betrays the “moral structure” of financial restraint built by the Puritans and Benjamin Franklin. Brooks blames this seeming decline on, among other factors, state governments that “aggressively hawk their lottery products.” In fact, lotteries were crucial funding instruments in the American colonial era and were used to raise money for a variety of institutions, including the Virginia Company, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Universities (Munting 13–14; Lears 70, 89). Financial history shows the inaccuracy of Brooks’s romance of financial probity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Instead, the line separating what is considered illegitimate gambling from legitimate speculation has been contested since the very origins of capitalism. Debate over government controls on risk-taking has likewise animated Anglo-American financial culture since Parliament simultaneously outlawed private lotteries and instituted state lotteries in the 1690s. Controversies over hedge funds, banking reform legislation, and austerity measures in our own day repeat these debates. Meanwhile lotteries, video sweepstakes, and online gambling tempt legislators looking for seemingly painless revenue sources, just as did lotteries in the 1690s.]

Published: Oct 28, 2015

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