Friday, December 20, 2013

Man Wins!

Why is the "news" that "Man Wins $1 million Picasso with $138 lottery ticket"?

Why isn't the news that 49,999 people won nothing at all with $138 lottery tickets?

After all, if you multiply 50,000 x $138 you get more than $6.5 million.  So the "news" is "Somebody makes $5.5 million from bunch of chumps."

Focusing on the winner makes it sound like such a great deal.  I suppose, if given the chance to buy the WINNING ticket, $138 is cheap.  I'll try that for the NC Lottery:  please sell me a WINNING ticket.  I'll pay double for that!

9 comments:

Jimbo said...

Nothing in the story explained why it's a "$1 million" painting.

Wouldn't Hayek say that it's been revealed to be a $6.5 million painting?

Patrick Sullivan said...

'News' is man bites dog. So journalism is the profession that, by definition, is there to misinform the public about reality.

SB said...

50,000 x $138 = +6,900,000
Painting = -1,000,000
Charity gets = -3,500,000

Where's the other $2,400,000? Administration fees?

mike davis said...

First, let’s trash the meme about how people are stupid to play lotteries that have a negative expected value. We can write down lots of fancy models with carefully specified definitions of “rationality” that predict conditions under which such sensible people will play.

Never mind. People like lotteries and that’s good enough for me.

Next, let’s state the obvious: The production of this valuable service that produces joy in the hearts of good people is, in most instances, controlled by an evil monopolist—a monopolist that owns guns and jails.

Except here.

Here a plucky band of entrepreneurs has figured out a way to run a lottery outside the grasping, greasy, hands of the government. True, much has been lost in the endeavor. The entrepreneurs must demonstrate that they are “charities” and, and apparently, the prize must not be cash. These transactions costs are regrettable but should not obscure the glorious triumph of human spirit over Leviathan.

There’s your story.

Mungowitz said...

Mike Davis wins the internet today. It is, indeed, a private service, competing with the evil state monopolies. Well played!

windwheel said...

Your question was 'why is THIS news?'
The answer is that Maha El Khalil Chalabi is very well connected and media savvy. It certainly was a piece of luck (or was it?) that the lottery was won by a Joe Lunchpail from dunno but it aint the kind of place Madame Chalabi and her ilk Winter or Summer.
More broadly, lotteries represent a scandal for Contractarians coz, like d'uh, obviously, every transaction is a lottery involving not Utility or Cost functions but Derived Demand and Joint Supply with what is of the essence to any given transaction. This 'roundaboutness' means that we can get weird stuff like backward causation- vide http://socioproctology.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/huw-price-evidential-decision-theory.html- by reason of a result from Dummett- but, more generally, a topos of radical ontological dysphoria in which Public Justification can't function.
Incidentally, Jason Brennan has been pretending to be a female attorney named Debbie Dresdner who says she has successfully extorted about 7000 dollars from the ghost of my former G.P.
I'm not kidding. This actually happened. Vide http://socioproctology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/why-brennan-is-hoppe-ing-mad.html
In this context, if you will forgive my quoting my 2007 novel- 'Samlee's daughter'- 'what we all choose behind Rawl's veil of ignorance is Borges' Lottery in Babylon'- it turns out that truth is stranger than fiction.
There is an argument, based on notions of 'conatus', that Laspeyres indices understate the impact of C.P.I- because the direction as well as the quantum of price movements affects welfare - but there is a Girardian (the memitic desire guy) argument that this is nullified through scapegoating and human sacrifice.

Nice to know that Tyre's beauty will be preserved while Picasso's refugee soul howls from the Hades bound ships of Tarshish.

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