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Yosarian2 comments on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Yosarian2 03 January 2013 10:28:26AM 1 point [-]

For the "lawyer work for another hour and donate the money vs. volunteer", it also what matters what the side effects of his labor are, right? If the lawyer can make $1000 an hour, but only in ways that actually harm society (working on frivolous lawsuits against hospitals, for example), then working for another hour and donating the money isn't necessarily the best thing he could be doing. Now, on the other hand, if his work also genuinely helps society and creates more wealth for people, then it's even better then the null case.

Comment author: wedrifid 03 January 2013 11:09:26AM *  1 point [-]

For the "lawyer work for another hour and donate the money vs. volunteer", it also what matters what the side effects of his labor are, right? If the lawyer can make $1000 an hour, but only in ways that actually harm society (working on frivolous lawsuits against hospitals, for example), then working for another hour and donating the money isn't necessarily the best thing he could be doing.

Then the equation becomes ($1,000 - damage-per-hour + damgage-per-hour-if-the-next-lawyer-available-did-it > next-best-value-opportunity). It is highly unlikely that the lawyer choosing to not involve himself in such lawsuits will make much difference at all, at the margin. Lawyer availability isn't a particularly limiting factor.

Participating in the society-destructing behavior, taking huge amounts of money for doing so (and using it well) while still voting for laws that prohibit or limit such behavior in general is probably the correct thing to do.

Comment author: Yosarian2 03 January 2013 10:31:06PM *  0 points [-]

It's possible that that might be true, in theory, but considering that we are running on corrupted hardware, I would be very suspicious of actually trying to put any plan into effect that sounded like an excuse for "I'm going to do something unethical to make myself really rich, but I'll make sure I use the money for good, and if I don't do it someone else will anyway." Even if that is actually your plan, in reality you will probably end up doing more harm then good.

Comment author: wedrifid 04 January 2013 12:38:33AM 0 points [-]

I would be very suspicious of actually trying to put any plan into effect that sounded like an excuse for "I'm going to do something unethical to make myself really rich, but I'll make sure I use the money for good, and if I don't do it someone else will anyway." Even if that is actually your plan, in reality you will probably end up doing more harm then good.

I implement ethical inhibitions too. The difference is in a different understanding of the economic implications of the behavior. Putting "be a lawyer who is willing to work on 'frivolous' lawsuits" in the class of things that must be inhibited for ethical reasons is a mistake.