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Tue, Sept 11, 2012

Let’s call it “Lottoisation”.

It has diseased the minds of working people and corrupted our fiscal governance. Money that used to fly from a weekly wage into the shop and store cashier and the credit union, now has to share with “lotto” – and in fact, many business places are offering lotto-type deals.

Lottoisation has also given the state another arm to reach into people’s pockets without them noticing. Virtual theft. And lottoisation pretends to be in the same business as The Salvation Army, only bigger and better at handing out goods to those in need! What we have accomplished through “lottoisation” is to set up a market place where citizens can become addicts and enjoy the dream of instant wealth tomorrow, while they help to increase their poverty today. And all the time, practically everybody has a good feeling about it, while the state redistributes income away from wage workers, consumers, charity and merchants into its own domain. We are in the grip of a virulent epidemic with a pleasant smell and invitation “You gotta be in it…”


The regular flow of Vincentians to and from the lotto booths is a form of speculation by the poor. A person who religiously goes to the 3D machine four times in a day is a driven person. Other “traditional” forms of gambling are now also a mainstream activity. Losses here are transparent and can lead to altercations and pent up hostility. In lotto, bosses are opaque and obscure. A player feels s/he has made a deposit today, towards tomorrow’s winnings — when in fact s/he suffered another loss. ‘My time will come’ is a kind of ownership or shareholding fetish by which lottoisation bamboozles and holds its addicts.

The disease mechanism by which the state manipulates and reduces the earnings of the citizens deserves a close and comprehensive study. Material, mental and social poverty are part of the outputs of “lottoisation”, not to mention the mythification and mystification of a disease into becoming a public good. “Lotto helping to build me”. ” If wasn’t for lotto”. And further, there is the danger of personal glorification of money in the dictum: “You cannot serve God and Mammon… ‘’and “The love/worship of money is a root of evil”.


At another level, financial speculation — not by the poor, but by the large international business houses, is an opposing phenomenon. An essay in May 2011 Monthly Review notes that “… giant firms, unable to find sufficient investment outlets for their enormous economic surpluses within production, increasingly turn to speculation within the global financial sphere”. In this case, the rich turn to speculate in finance, not because poverty and hope are driving them, but because they have more wealth can they can use in their factories or agri-business or other producing services.

Although a Vincentian lotto player and a large American company do not have the same motive for “playing lotto”, in both cases, they are taking away wealth from productive use like agriculture and putting it into speculation. When the Monthly Review writers examined the situation in the USA, they noted that the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector of the US economy doubled its weight between 1980 and 2000 — as a proportion of the goods production sector. A point we should note, however, is that although investment in finance speculation multiplied so rapidly, compared with industry, the numbers of jobs in finance only increased minimally.

Our own lotto speculation business, which turns over so many millions per year, hardly provides 200 full jobs. And our other financial services, especially those with offshore governance, are moving unerringly into technologies which may reduce jobs without improving service.

Here in our land, we are crippling our lower income earners, especially disabling our economy, and giving the state a free ride into our pockets. That is a recipe for long term disaster. Is there an agency we can call upon to throw investigative light on this diseased instrument of policy?