Things That Annoy Me – Part 19

90.) Local EVERYTHING!

Beer. Tomatoes. Restaurants. Coffee.
Local is everywhere (everything is indeed LOCAL, somewhere). Local is everything. If you don’t shop local, you’re an ASSHOLE!

First off . . . I get it. Local IS the way of the future. In a world of declining readily available fossil fuels, linens made in China and Tomatoes long-hauled to Winnipeg from California (in JUNE!) will no longer be economically feasible. It’s the Red Pill to dwarf all Red Pills in a culture that loves the allure of the cinema in describing everyday life. Or more, a culture that often needs a dichotomy to in order to excuse some dumb (and often horribly biased) observation.

Bitches be walking all over the rights of MEN, with him having no right to due process. It’s not the patriarchy anymore, it’s the FEMTRIARCHY! 

Need I say more?

Anyway . . . local. I don’t have a problem with the concept. And I don’t doubt that the future is ultimately going to be in becoming much less dependant on lengthy, wasteful and ultimately fragile supply chains.
Now, this is not to say that ALL trade is bad.  There will always be nation states that do certain items better, and there will always be environmental constraints (for example, the lack of a tropical climate in places like Canada and Norway for growing things like coffee and citrus fruit). We just shouldn’t (well, can’t AFFORD to) be stupid about it anymore. 

Which brings me to the growing issue of the Local craze. It’s not a fad. Like Organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and whatever other bullshit that manufacturers can rope in the gullible with. It’s the future.

It’s more than a flashy marketing tactic to make pretentious restaurants seem more worldly or a buzzword for stores filled with imported goods to slap on imported reusable shopping bags. But I suppose this is what happens when one attempts to use the capitalist system as a path to a solution.

More of the same, just with a different label. 

91.) Lotteries

It’s something we likely have all heard at some point.

You can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket!

This is when I usually suggest they grab a $5 bill and flush it down the toilet. Which generally begets a baffled reaction, and then a retreat right back into their cozy little world.
What I COULD have said was:

If I DON’T buy a ticket, then I will still have my $5 if I DON’T beat the odds. Making the odds of me keeping my $5, or of me getting hit by a 737 Max, much greater than the odds of you winning the lottory

Fine, I could have left the last part out. It indeed comes across as insensitive to anyone in any way connected to the situation(s). None the less, it is somewhat related. The more I read coming out about the Boeing/FAA certification process of the aircraft, the more it seemed that both took a gamble. A BIG gamble, with innocent lives as collateral. And like the McDonnell Douglas DC 10 gamble back in the ’70s, everyone lost big. In far more ways than financially.

And on that dark note, is where I return to lotteries.

When most of us think of lotteries, we generally don’t go to a negative place. In fact, lottery advertising almost assures that the word brings us to cloud 9.
You don’t see the lives ruined by gambling addictions. You don’t see the very real phenomenon that is lives ruined by lottery winnings.  You don’t see the man or women that spent their last dollar on some lottery product.  But you will hear their story on the evening news if they win.

Guaranteed.

Some time ago, I heard a comedian say something along the lines of “Lotteries are a tax on the stupid“. And like my reaction to many things years ago, I eagerly and uncritically agreed. As most fanboys tend to do.
These days, I sort of agree. I can list off anecdotes of people that are living lives of abundance and privilege, but they still buy these tickets as though it’s some kind of future planning exercise. Imagine the nest egg one would have if they diverted every penny they currently spend on lotto products into a savings account. It might not be multiples of millions, but it is money saved. As opposed to money flushed down the toilet. 

However, deluded and greedy (let’s be honest) middle and upper-middle-class individuals are only part of the picture. For others, the lotto represents something far more tantalizing than a bigger house or a new car. It represents something that is in short supply pretty much anywhere poverty has a strong foothold.

Hope.

There is also a saying that lotteries tend to be a tax on the poor. Whilst also problematic (people are not forced to buy lottery products), there is apparently some validity to the statement in the numbers.

1) Most lottery tickets are bought in poor neighborhoods

People in wealthy neighborhoods don’t buy lottery tickets — at least not for the daily games. People in poor neighborhoods play much more frequently. Here’s how median incomes in Connecticut zip codes compare with how often people in those zip codes win.

Nationwide, people who make less than $10,000 spend on average $597 on lottery tickets — about 6 percent of their income.

Sure, part of this is likely because poorer neighborhoods tend to be located closer to urban areas, where there are more package stores. But even in Connecticut, where there are plenty of poor neighborhoods in the suburbs and wealthy ones in the cities, it’s the poorer areas that produce the most winning tickets — and whose residents, therefore, are playing most often.

4) A lot of people in financial trouble think it’s the only way to accumulate money

One in five Americans believe the lottery is the only way they can accumulate a significant amount of savings.

This might indicate that people are bad at math, but it’s also a sign of desperation.

During the Great Recession, more than half the states in the US saw growth in lottery sales. Of the 42 states with lotteries, 25 saw a spike in instant and daily games.

In addition, one study found that 15 percent of millennials say the lottery is their retirement plan. It’s easy to mock, but the authors of the study wrote that there are several very real challenges millennials say they face. One is that they’ll have to care for their parents financially. Another is that they feel Social Security will provide them no meaningful income by the time they retire. Last, the survey found 28 percent believed they wouldn’t be able to retire when they want — and another 28 percent believe they will never be able to retire.

In short, the lottery preys on vulnerable people

Think of the lottery this way: A lot of people voluntarily put money into a pot, and it is redistributed, at random, to just a few people. But if you’re already desperate and unable to afford even the most basic needs, then that tiny probability of digging yourself out of a hole is better than nothing.

It’s like a Hail Mary. It probably won’t work, but you feel like it’s your only option.

https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/1/13/10763268/lottery-poor-prey

The Millenials bit was interesting, considering that I read an article in the National Post that observed lottery corporations in many Canadian provinces starting to have stagnant revenues due to millennials not gambling as much as their parents did. A stat that didn’t surprise me, considering the trajectory of the generation (along with up and coming Gen Z) so far. For those in Canada, I think it boils down to a combination of a lack of disposable income to spend, and wisdom (partly from growing up connected to the wild west that is the internet today) which is inherently antithetical to lotto gaming. We’re inherently less inclined to piss away money we don’t have, and we’re not as easily seduced by extraordinarily long odds.

This is not to say that American millennials (who seemingly are trending in the opposite direction) don’t have that wisdom. They likely still know better than their parents. It’s a necessity (the downtrodden generally can’t afford the aloofly ignorant life of the privileged). None the less, however, I suspect most American millennials are even worse off than us Canadians in the same cohort. I’m not quoting stats (admittedly), but all one needs to know is how different the financial responsibilities are on both sides of the border. Not only was the United States unprepared for the 2008 crash (nor are they prepared for the next big dip), residents also have to worry about health insurance by law. Whilst working 3 or 4 different jobs trying to pay rent, food and the basics, they also have to allocate thousands a month toward barley any coverage. 

American Millenials know. But they are just like everyone else left behind by the modern day serf economy. A situation that can be summed up with “What else can I do?!“.

Lotteries are something I’ve dabbled in before. A fair amount when I was 18 and didn’t give long-form thought to much of anything. Significantly less in my later years because I know better. But, I wasn’t immune to purchasing a $1 scratch card here or a $6 lottery ticket there (generally after winning the money on a scratch card). But after this, I think I’m going to stop participating entirely. And overall, it dosesn’t matter that I’ve never touched a VLT (Video lotto terminal) or played in a casino. It’s all statistical nonsense subsidized by the hopeless and the afflicted. 

I have to say, however, that the governing body of Canadian lotteries has a lot to do with my current stance on all this nonsense. It was them that changed one of Canada’s 2 national lottery games from $3 to $5 a pop. Thus making me realize how high the jackpots ALWAYS were on account of the increased price. And how this high jackpot was like catnip to lottery players everywhere. And so the vicious cycle continues.

Often times, enabled by the evening news.

Rape, murder, stabbing, murder, drive-by targeting a school, corrupt politician caught, arts & entertainment, the stock market, do you have your ticket?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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