Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

What is the Difference Between Investing, Speculating, and Gambling?

WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
Portland Campus
Stuart Banner

Free and open to the public

For centuries, there has been a consensus that investing is useful and ought to be encouraged. There has been a consensus that gambling is dangerous and ought to be discouraged or even outlawed. But what about speculation, which lies somewhere between the two? Throughout American history, speculation has presented a puzzle to the legal system. To figure out how to treat speculation, we have always needed to distinguish between two kinds of risky commerce, a good kind the law should promote and a bad kind the law should deter. Drawing that line has never been easy, and it is no easier today. The difference between gambling and investing has always been a matter of controversy, from the crash of 1792 up through the recent financial crisis.


WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
United States

Stuart Banner Lecturing

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