May 23, 2009

Coming to terms with the size of it

I used to momentarily 'tut, tut' in my mind whenever I read about the profligate and destructive habits of the lower classes, throwing their money away on gambling. A beer, a smoke and a Macca's is understandable, in a misbegotten way, but gambling? Oh dear. Oh dear. Whatever shall we do. The fall of the empire can't be far behind the invasion of pokies.

I got over it when, amongst the never ending hand-wringing, I realized that the amounts lost in the pursuit of gambling in Australia each year equated to, roughly, in the ballpark of, the amount of perfectly good food Australian's throw in the rubbish bin every year, or the amount collectively spent going to the cinema or to concerts.

It's all in the way people choose their recreations, or waste their recreational dollar. Whatever.

How is one worse than the other, really?

It's remarkably small bickies in the scheme of things.
"The Reverend Tim Costello said poker machine venues had been "advertising furiously" while the stimulus payments were flowing. "What this has stimulated is more marriage breakdowns and lost businesses and crime committed, because when (poker machine) income jumps as dramatically as this, addiction jumps, and that just tears communities apart."
Yeah, yeah.

Tut tut.

Get a grip.

Really.

There are micro tragedies, I don't doubt, but at the societal level, the health or failure of the economy, and the collective social well being, don't hinge on the dire extent of gambling any more than they hinge on the number of trips to the cinema, book sales or edible food thrown in bins.

Stimulus poured into pokies

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