A World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street

Front Cover
Although financial markets often try to distance themselves from gambling, the two factors have far more in common than usually thought. When, historically, there were no financial institutions such as banks, lotteries constituted the ways by which expensive items were disposed of, and governments raised money quickly. Gambling tables fulfilled roles that venture capital and banking do today. 'Gamblers' created clearinghouses and sustained liquidity. When those gamblers bet on price distributions in futures markets, they were redefined as 'speculators'. Today they are called 'hedge fund managers' or 'bankers'. Though the names have changed, the actions undertaken have essentially stayed the same. This book shows how discussion on 'chance', 'risk', 'gambling', 'insurance', and 'speculation' illuminates where societies stood, where we are today, and where we may be heading.

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User Review  - CamKC - LibraryThing

Interesting exploration of how various societies and governments, from biblical times to the online gambling bill, have tried to stifle an adventurous approach to handling risk, which is the very ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and is a partner in Match Strategic Partners. The author of seven other books, including Gambling and Speculation (Cambridge, 1990, with Gabrielle A. Brenner) and Rivalry: In Business, Science, Among Nations (Cambridge, 1987), he examines what makes societies and firms leapfrog over others or fall behind them. The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Times of London, Asia Times, and Smart Money have reviewed his books. He has also served as a consultant to companies such as the Bank of America, Bell Canada, and Knowledge Universe, and he has worked with financial institutions throughout North America. Brenner has also been a frequent commentator in leading media around the world. Forbes Global columnists have put two of Professor Brenner titles on their list of recommended books for all time and profiled him in a cover story titled eapfrogging He has served on the board of several companies, received a Fulbright Fellowship and the Killam Award, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Gabrielle A. Brenner is Associate Professor of Economics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Montreal, Canada. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and has written about risk taking, entrepreneurship, and anti-trust. Professor Brenner worked at Lexecon and has also served as a consultant to the World Bank, UNIDO, and CIDA.

Aaron Brown is risk manager for AQR Capital Management in Greenwich, CT. He holds degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard University and finance from the University of Chicago. He has worked as a trader, portfolio manager, head of mortgage security, and risk manager for such Wall Street firms as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup; taught finance at Fordham and Yeshiva universities; and ran a public mutual fund. Mr Brown is the author of The Poker Face of Wall Street.

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