Are we gamblers by nature? China, the West and indigenous people

 

Are we gamblers by nature?

Are people gamblers by nature? The Chinese were already gambling well before our era. That in the West card games, dice and the like were only introduced much later says little. We saw that at the crucifixion of Jesus was already played for his cloak.

Is gambling a part of human nature, just as we were looking for food in the Stone Age? It is a question that scientists from different disciplines could consider. Historians, sociologists, biologists, economists and others all have common ground with the question.

The answer

The answer to the question is partly simple. Anthropologists went in search and it appears that large parts of the world were not gambled. There were no cards, dice or other attributes to gamble with. People in the areas studied never felt the need to gamble. And thus the question seems to have to be answered with a “no, we are not naturally gamblers. Gambling is not in human nature. ”

You might think it's about thousands of years ago. That in the distant past there were areas where no gambling took place. But it's much shorter. For example, betting on the conduct of sports competitions is only done in Australia for 150 years. And in various places in the world, gambling, in whatever form, has only come to the fore 50 years or less ago.

Consider the indigenous population of almost all of South America, people on the Pacific islands and residents of remote areas in Eastern Russia and Northern Scandinavia. Some of these population groups have only known forms of gambling for several decades. Others still don't know it. So gambling is not in our human nature. Otherwise, like the Chinese, those people would have thought of it and also thought of something like a dice.

Why don't they know it?

Perhaps the question has not yet been answered satisfactorily. A follow-up question could be: why did those people only know it for so short or not at all, while China and the West have known gambling games for a long time?

Here is another simple answer for the taking. We then say, those people lived isolated and marginal. Such life, of course, says nothing about human nature. At most it tells us that peoples have not come to know our inventions, habits and games.

Discovery trips

But the simple answer is not correct. For many of the areas it applies that they were not at all isolated and marginal. Organized communities existed in South America that maintained contact with each other. Moreover, explorers from the Netherlands, Spain, France and England arrived there in any case around 1400.

And Australia, New Zealand and the other Pacific islands had trade networks long before Captain Cook embarked on his explorations. If that population were gamblers by nature, they could easily have thought of dice. Or they could have taken them from one of their journeys, for example from South Asia.

No gamblers by nature

We can safely conclude that we are not born gamblers. If he doesn't know it, a person apparently has no need to gamble. Most people on earth have since come into contact with gambling. Through increasingly better and faster connections by land, at sea and in the air. And nowadays we even go live digitally in every corner of the world.

In addition, an interesting phenomenon occurs. Peoples who only got to know gambling games much later, for example somewhere in the last 50 years, have a much bigger problem with gambling addiction.

What makes addiction sensitive?

So we found that we are not natural gamblers, gambling is not in our genes. The fact that one person tends to be addicted to another and not to another is, to a large extent, genetically determined according to scientists. In addition, the environment plays an important role.

But what about the difference between population groups that, as in the West, already have a long gambling history and the, in proportion, greater susceptibility to addiction of peoples who have recently started playing gambling games?

The idea was that gambling addiction is more common in people who are more exposed to dangers in their lives. However, this was quickly rejected by researchers. After all, in countries where gambling has been known for a long time, this has not been proven.

Moreover, the dangers are often much greater in most areas where gambling was introduced much later. Australia, for example, has the most dangerous and deadliest animals in the world. And in the wilderness, on the tundra, in the rain forests or on a Siberian landscape, the dangers of the natural environment are enormous. Yet those people, when they were still unfamiliar with our Western gambling games, did not start gambling. And I repeat again, they have not developed any gambling games themselves.

Money sense

What makes them, since they came into contact with gambling, more addictive than people who have known slot machines, roulette, bets and lotteries for a long time? The answer is currently being sought in the difference in economic circumstances, sense of money, the greater ease of use of our money compared to their means of exchange. And of course the chance of gambling on making money fast.

The scientists have to look even further for the answer to the difference in gambling addiction. In any case, it has been established that man is not a gambler by nature. And we now know more or less for sure that the chance of gambling addiction in countries that have known gambling games for a long time is largely determined by genes.

Fortunately there is no tendency to addiction in my genes. So I just play a game for fun.

Sources

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