What is Gambling?


In some circles, people have claimed that “The stock market is just glorified gambling” and that the same negative connotation of i.e. “casino gambling” ought to be felt. This would imply that your hedge fund manager isn’t actually a “respectable” expert on analyzing quarterly reports and trends who allocates your savings accordingly, but rather a “gambler”. Indeed, there are points to be made on the relevance of such experts i.e. the random walk theory. One could argue that investing is somehow different from gambling in its practical application i.e. ownership in factories etc. Although there are valid points to be made, let’s for the sake of the argument accept the proposition that “The stock market is just glorified gambling” and see what happens if we extrapolate on its principles.

For us to expand upon and apply the principles of gambling, we first need a definition of what gambling is. According to Merriam-Webster “Gambling is the practice or activity of betting: the practice of risking money or other stakes in a game or bet”. Thus, gambling is the act of wagering a stake on an event with uncertain outcomes, with the primary intent of winning. This can then be divided into three elements: (1) stake, (2) risk, (3) prize. With this logic one could argue that the stock market is gambling, as the investment of Q amount on stock Y for it to rise to price X sufficiently fulfills the three prerequisites. It's settled then! The stock market is gambling, and the experts in suits are just glorified apes throwing darts on events to join that are determined by randomness. If we accept this answer, what would happen if we were to expand these principles beyond the stock market?

Let’s apply the principles of gambling when walking across the street. We would first need to identify our three prerequisites (stake, risk, prize). In this case, the stake would be your very own life, the risk would be the event of crossing the street with the uncertainty of being driven over by a motorized vehicle, and the prize would be to arrive upon your desired destination. It's settled then! Crossing the street is gambling, and the experts (pedestrians) with their assumptions of perfect traffic and rational actors are just apes throwing darts on events to join that are determined by randomness.
Let’s apply the principles of gambling once more, this time when having children. In this case, there are both psychological and physical stakes to account for. There are many risks, such as pregnancy-related death, trauma from a miscarriage, and the uncertainty of birth defects to name a few. The prize, that is the desired outcome, would of course be to have a healthy child. It's settled then! Having children is gambling, and the experts (couples) with their assumptions of safety and perfect outcomes are just apes joining events determined by randomness.

As we have expanded upon the application of the core principles of gambling, we have come to some interesting results. Not only is the stock market gambling, but also walking across the street, and having children! We arrive upon this conclusion by assuming that events are determined by randomness. Thus, if we were to accept the proposition that “The stock market is just glorified gambling”, we must also accept that “Life is just glorified gambling”.
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I have now gambled 30 minutes of my life that someone might read this.


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