Monday, February 20, 2012

At last, a good reason for a lottery

I'm not a big fan of lotteries.  The fact that governments encourage gambling (and known addiction) is appalling.  And the fact that lotteries (naturally) appeal mostly to the the less-wealthy of the population, makes the practice even more sinister.

But, people love to gamble and play the lottery.  But what if they could play and potentially win something without sacrificing their hard earned money ?

I was travelling last week and the hotel I stay at next to my HQ in Cupertino (Kimpton's Cypress) is kind enough to deliver a paper of choice to its members staying at their hotels (membership is free).  I chose the NY Times for its top-notch journalist and interesting non-news insights.  I often keep papers for reading when I'm back home and have some spare time on the weekend.

I just read a wonderful little op-ed by Rhichard H. Thaler, called Making Citizenship Good Fun (Feb13th, 2012).  It's not about citizenship, as-in immigration, but rather our responsibility to be good citizens, recycling, paying taxes etc.  The article cites some wonderfully creative ideas from around the world to encourage good citizenship rather than what most of us face, negative reinforcement.  A few of which reward good citizenship with the chance at a lottery, like dispensing lottery tickets for doggy waste in New Taipei City or attaching lottery tickets to restaurant receipts in mainland China (reducing cash transaction tax work-arounds).

Now that's the kind of lottery I could support.  Reward people for doing the right thing with a chance at winning a few doubles and having some fun in the process.

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