Lottery is an ancient form of gambling whose roots trace back at least to the thirteenth century, when people drew names to determine who would inherit property. Lotteries became popular throughout Europe as town fortifications and other public works were financed by the proceeds, and, in England, Queen Elizabeth I chartered the nation’s first lottery in 1567, using the money to “reparation of the Havens and strength of the Realme.” During the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin sponsored a lottery to raise funds for cannons to defend Philadelphia against the British, and, after the Civil War, Thomas Jefferson endorsed a private lottery to ease his crushing debts.
The modern lottery industry is a multibillion-dollar industry that, until recently, largely escaped public scrutiny. Unlike a state’s other revenue sources, lottery profits are not as transparent to the general public; for this reason, they can be difficult to evaluate. Moreover, because most states are required to pay out a substantial percentage of ticket sales in prize money, the remaining revenues are not available for state programs like education or infrastructure. To maintain popularity, most lotteries offer big jackpots that draw headlines and generate a great deal of free publicity. But this also diminishes the portion of the lottery’s total earnings that can be used for state needs, and some experts argue that a big jackpot reduces the overall value of the game.
Nonetheless, state governments continue to promote lotteries as a source of “painless” revenue, arguing that a large portion of the funds are voluntarily spent by players rather than being imposed from outside. This argument is most effective in times of economic stress, when a state’s fiscal health is tenuous and the threat of tax increases or cuts to vital programs is likely to resonate with voters.
But a number of studies suggest that the broader social costs of lottery profits outweigh the benefits, and some economists have argued that it is time to stop funding state lotteries altogether. Others have urged that, to preserve their popularity, lotteries should be restricted to “instant games,” such as scratch-off tickets, that require less investment of time and money and have lower prizes.
The main theme of this short story is that human nature is evil and hypocritical. The characters in this short story act with cruelty and malice in a casual atmosphere that hints at the corrupt nature of humans. In fact, this kind of behavior is a common occurrence in our world where people mistreat one another with little consideration of the effects that their actions will have on the well being of others.