In a lottery, players purchase tickets for the chance to win a prize. Some governments outlaw the practice, while others endorse it and organize state or national lotteries. The winners are determined by a process of random selection. A small portion of the proceeds goes toward administration and promotion, with the remainder available for the prizes. Many modern lotteries use a computer system to record the identities of bettors and their numbers. The tickets are shuffled and a drawing is held to determine the winners.
Lotteries have been around for centuries, but they didn’t really take off until the late nineteenth century. This is when states began to adopt them as a way to raise money for public services. The primary argument used to promote the idea of a lottery was that it would be a source of “painless” revenue, in which the people voluntarily spent their money (instead of having it taken from them through taxes) for the benefit of the public good. This arrangement would allow the government to expand its range of public services without having to increase taxes on the middle and working classes.
However, as the lottery grew in popularity during the post-World War II era, its advocates no longer sold it as a magic bullet that could float an entire state’s budget. Instead, they argued that it could cover a particular line item, usually some type of popular and nonpartisan service, such as education or aid for veterans. This was a better sell, as it implied that voting for the lottery wasn’t a vote in favor of gambling but in support of something worthwhile.
This approach allowed supporters to avoid the specter of a state-sponsored form of gambling, which was a sensitive issue in the postwar era. The resulting narrower argument also made it easier to campaign for legalization.
The events described in the short story reveal a number of interesting issues about the nature of human beings. First, it shows the evil-nature of humans in general. The men in the village, despite their faces showing them to be friendly, mistreat each other and display little regard for the lives of other people. Moreover, they are able to continue this behavior even after the death of Mrs. Hutchison, which is a clear sign of the skewed perspective and evil-nature that this culture has.
This short story demonstrates how the power of greed can corrupt people’s judgment. The fact that these people continue to play the lottery despite the death of a fellow member reveals the depravity of the human mind. This is because they are blinded by their desire for wealth and are unable to see the negative consequences of their actions. Moreover, this short story also reveals how oppressive cultures deem any hope of liberalization as a threat to the community. Therefore, it is important for such societies to learn from this story and try to find a way to break the cycle of violence.