9/4/10

Lenin on Lotteries

I haven't read much on Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism et al - my ideas of socialism have been the very bare bones of that particular ideology. So in light of the recent lottery brouhaha in Kerala and while doing research for a story, and a discussion with my father, I searched on the glorious internets for Lenin's views on lotteries and came across this:

The people who extol small-scale farming sometimes want to help the peasant, but actually they only do him harm. With their honeyed words they deceive the peasant in the same way as people are deceived by a lottery. I shall tell you what a lottery is. Let us suppose I have a cow, worth 50 rubles. I want to sell the cow by means of a lottery, so I offer everyone tickets at a ruble each. Everyone has a chance of getting the cow for one ruble! People are tempted and the rubles pour in. When I have collected a hundred rubles I proceed to draw the lottery: the one whose ticket is drawn gets the cow for a ruble, the others get nothing. Was the cow “cheap” for the people? No, it was very dear, because the total money they paid was double the value of the cow, because two persons (the one who ran the lottery and the one who won the cow) gained without doing any work, and gained at the expense of the ninety-nine who lost their money. Thus, those who say that lotteries are advantageous to the people are simply practising deceit on the people.

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