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endoself comments on Lotteries: A Waste of Hope - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 April 2007 05:36AM

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Comment author: endoself 17 January 2011 10:34:32AM 0 points [-]

The point of the third alternative is that an action is not good because it is preferable to some "default action", but because it is preferable to all possible actions that you can think of. If it is rational for some people to buy lottery tickets, it is because it is the best use of their money, not because it is better than saving. If there is a more efficient way to accomplish the same goals, than rational people would not buy lottery tickets.

I for one might decide to give the billion dollars because at least it has some value (I'm not really happy about giving 3^^^^3 people one penny each, even if 3^^^^3 pennies is worth a lot more than a billion dollars).

What percentage of people would have a major life change because of a single extra penny? A tiny fraction, but multiply that number by 3^^^^3 and you can do vastly more good than by giving one person $1 billion.

I'm not quite sure what you mean in your first sentence. People can and do have hidden motivations that they are not consciously aware of depending on the definition of motivation.