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AlexanderRM comments on Money: The Unit of Caring - Less Wrong

95 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 March 2009 12:35PM

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Comment author: AlexanderRM 15 November 2014 02:36:20AM *  0 points [-]

Interesting... I'd go with the money immediately (picturing minimum wage, $8 an hour, here). Yet I'm quite sure that I tend to conserve money far, far more effectively than time at that ratio; with the exception of a handful of purchases like my computer (and even that was in the hundreds of dollars, easily worth it given how much time I spend on the internet), I've probably spent maybe a few of hundred dollars on luxuries since I started having significant discretionary spending money, which would have been in middle school when I started my paper route, almost 10 years ago. On the other hand, I regularly waste hours and hours on random internet things that I often don't even remember, day after day.

I think the difference is probably between work and enjoyable time, which makes things really hard to calculate. I think that I attach varying degrees of negative value to doing work (depending on factors specific to the work) in addition to the time spent.

Of course, that would be assuming I were a rational actor. I suspect I actually have biases in both directions depending on the situation, and that probably many people are like that. There's no reason biases have to be consistent, in fact, that's pretty much the whole point of them.

EDIT: Correction, actually: If the hour were spent on the sort of jobs I've done to earn money previously (cashiering in retail or delivering papers, specifically in settings and routines I'm familiar with), then I'd probably go with doing the work. I seem to have assumed that doing an hour working charity involved awkwardly learning new things or figuring things out or working with other people (an example of attaching negative value to specific aspects of doing work). Maybe my emotional estimate was actually more rational than I'd realized; that'd be rather unusual.