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PennDrago

Morality of money won in a sweepstake

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Today, I received a phone call claiming that I have won a large sum of money through a contest (one that I know I actually filled out information for while shopping at the local mall). Now, I suspect it is a scam but since they asked for no information about me-- (ie: SSN or anything else for that matter) I can't really see any purpose for the scam-- but that isn't really the issue at hand.

But what I am wondering is how would an O'ist view winning this money (if it were true), is it moral to accept money that hasn't been earned-- unless you count the act of filling out a small piece of paper "earning" money. Does it simply fall under the same category as inherited wealth? Or was it immoral of me to fill out the piece of paper to begin with?

I think that it would fall under the same category as inherited wealth, as stated in AS, (paraphrased because I do not have the book in front of me) that there is nothing wrong with inherited wealth because those who did not deserve it will not keep it for long. (see: lottery winner study turning the 1980's where the majority were on welfare only a few years later.)

Any other input?

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I generally don't apply for sweepstakes, lotteries, that sort of thing. Hopefully the money wasn't taken from anyone by force, in which case if they want to use it to hold a sweepstakes that's their decision.

I always thought that the best use for such money would be to put it back into circulation (although half of it gets eaten by taxes anyway; holding a sweepstakes is like volunteering to give half of your money to the gov'ment) in some useful fashion: paying off debts, investing, buying cool electronics . . .

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As you mentioned, many sweepstakes are fraudulent and this one might be too. They are usualy framed as something free, but end up asking you to pay once you have "invested" some time in the process and once they have sold you on some "product".

However, if it is legitimate and private, it is moral.

Let's say I walk into a store and the clerk walks up and hands me a store gift card with money on it saying: "We're giving this to you because you're the million'th customer to walk through our doors. There is no reason to decline it. Enjoy it.

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