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[Opinion] Homo Lottorius

Posted February. 10, 2003 22:40,   


There is a new technical term referring to Korean people - Homo Lottorius. The name, first used by civic organization `High Family,` means a person addicted to Lotto. `I make six-digit combinations whenever I see numbers.` `I always carry Lotto or Lotto applications.` and `I have thought about how to spend money if I win.` If you answer yes in 14 or more questions in a self-evaluation test comprising 20 such questions, you are already addicted to Lotto. You do not have to even mark scores. If your heart begins to beat hard when you hear the expression `reversal of fortune` or if you feel like having lost your chance watching someone else winning the first prize, you are a member of Homo Lottorius family currently sweeping across the country.

▷Lotto advocates argue that the lottery craze is not limited to this country but prevailing throughout the world. A survey by the U.S. consumer advocacy group found that one out of four responded thought that it would be better to buy a lottery than saving money for later days. If they buy a $25-worth lottery ticket for forty years, it will cost only $286,640 provided that the interest rate is 7%. Yet, if they win, they will at least earn $500,000. There is not much to lose, the logics goes. Interest rate gets lower but the unemployment rate gets higher. The tax policy is apparently in favor of the haves and there seems little hope for the not-haves. So they turn to lotteries.

▷That is why people call lotteries are taxes of the not-haves, which means the not-haves collect money for a few lucky ones among themselves. According a committee studying the influence of gambling in the U.S., high school graduates buy fore times as many lotteries as college graduates and black people as five times many as whites. What is unique in this country is that the whole country seems crazy about hitting the jackpot, not just working-class people. A singing group `Our Country` sings the reason that almost all people except some middle and upper classes are crazy about Lotto in a new song `Jotto!! Reversal of Fortune.` (Jot is equivalent of fxxx in English.) `There is nothing I can rely on this dreary world. No politics, no religion. Only lotteries. I just cannot help making it big this time for once. Let`s try. Let`s make combinations. The only way is winning lotteries. I will never make it how hard I work. No, never, Jotto!.`

▷To save Homo Lottorius, they say they will reduce the amount set for the first winner drastically from the next time. Kookmin Bank and ten government agencies, organizers of the lottery game, are now giving medicine after spreading the disease. Yet, Homo Lottorius is not likely to disappear even if the amount is limited. In this world where hard working hardly pays off and trust in politics and religion have all but gone, Homo Lottorius is bound to thrive on.

Kim Sun-deok, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com