Screenshot from newyorker.com; Illustration by Gabriel Alcala
“What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery” in The New Yorker focuses on a new book by Jonathan D. Cohen F’18, titled For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America. Based on Cohen’s research, the article explores the complex history of the American lottery system and industry, including its relationship to race, class, religion, and culture in the US.
Cohen was a 2018 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow, and is currently the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Program Officer for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Lottery tickets can seem like either a benign form of entertainment or a dangerous addiction. The question that lurks within “For a Dollar and a Dream” is which category they really belong to—and, accordingly, whether governments charged with promoting the general welfare should be in the business of producing them, publicizing them, and profiting from them.
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