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HalFinney 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: HalFinney 13 April 2007 11:05:22PM 1 point [-]

Another problem with lotteries is that people tend to overestimate how much happier they will get if they become rich. They confuse the great happiness of becoming rich with the modest happiness of remaining rich. This would make them over-invest in lotteries. It would also make them over-invest in other activities that could lead to wealth, such as starting businesses.

I suspect that this same bias shows up in other areas as well. Losing weight is great but remaining thin is only good. Achieving your life goals is wonderful but having achieved your goals is just OK. These factors conspire to make us try harder to improve our circumstances than is perhaps deserved.