Difference Between Investment And Gambling
Certainly, investment is a gamble. Gambling means backing your luck. In the ordinary sense of the word, it means seeking to gain some money, not of your skill or your industry, but of your luck. Now into all investment, as far as I know, the element of luck enters. If you know of any in vestment in which the returns are sure and certain, and from which chance is excluded, a good many of us would like to know its name. Government bonds used to be thought of as such an investment. They were loudly proclaimed to be the safest investment in the world. It is true, of course, that the Government will pay you the dividends it has promised, and that it will give you back your capital on the due date. Where the element of chance comes in is in the value of the capital returned and the dividends paid so punctually. Into all investments this element of chance enters. In all of them, you stake your money on your luck; in other Words, you gamble.
I never feel serious qualms of conscience about betting a friend a dollar that tomorrow will be a hot day. The wise moralists of the Middle Ages who drew up a list of the seven deadly sins did not include gambling among the seven; but they did include greed. It is not the element of chance that makes gambling wrong; it is the element of greed. If my friend and I have an argument about which of us is to pay for drinks, I can see nothing very wrong with tossing up for it. We let the spin of the coin decide for us. Only a very strict moralist would condemn us for such gambling. Gambling does become a vice, I think, when the stake is such that you cannot afford to lose it without a second thought. If you must bet, you must know that your wife and family will not be a penny worse if you lose the bet. Again, gambling becomes a vice when it becomes a habit, as it is very apt to do. Though I see no great harm in an occasional wager, I am very sure that gambling as a national habit spells national demoralization. That is why a State lottery is an iniquitous thing. No government that cared for the general welfare would encourage its people to become a nation of inveterate gamblers.