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gwern comments on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... - Less Wrong

130 Post author: Yvain 24 December 2010 09:26PM

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Comment author: gwern 25 December 2010 06:49:08PM 23 points [-]

I'd certainly upvote any such submission. I mean:

"Not like I am any saint myself. The past two years, I've spent about two dead puppies on books from Amazon.com alone. I am probably going to spend very close to a whole dead child to fly home for my two week winter break, and I spent ten dead children on my trip around the world this summer. I spent four infected wounds on fantasy map-making software. But at least in the back of my mind I realize I'm doing it. Can the people who spend a dead kid plus a dead puppy on the world's most expensive sundae say the same? What about the Japanese guy spending 1050 dead kids on a mobile phone strap?"

Come on!

Comment author: XiXiDu 25 December 2010 09:20:47PM 3 points [-]

I can't follow, are you being sarcastic about my suggestion? I guess it's a matter of taste. I thought the essay shows how our utility calculations are easily influenced by highlighting the potential of the fuel that is money. Most people just use their money to feed a fire for its warmth and the beautiful sparks. They do not realize that every banknote is worth more than the printed paper it is made up of. People do not see that a banknote can be used much more effectively. Renaming money is simple yet changes its perceived potential dramatically. As such the essay is a metaphor to caution against the burning of books that is fueling the fire of ignorance. Do not burn books if not absolutely necessary, use the potential effectively, read them!

Comment author: gwern 25 December 2010 11:34:19PM 13 points [-]

I wasn't being sarcastic. The implied expansion of my last comment is 'Come on [, how can you not like or appreciate that paragraph among others?]!'