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Would I pay for someone else to?

August 21st, 2013
giving

Perhaps my computer is too slow. A faster one would be more pleasant to use, but would also increase productivity, earnings, and so potentially donations. Would buying a new one be altruism or self-spending? What about going to England and meeting the people in the Oxford EA community? It would be a lot of fun, but is there enough potential to increase my future effectiveness that it's worth it on altruism grounds alone? How should I think about these?

When it's not clear how much of something is altruism vs self enjoyment I find it useful to ask myself "would I pay for someone else to have it?" If the answer is "no," how much would I pay to make the difference between it happening and not? While there are practical reasons why paying for someone else's trip to Oxford makes less sense than paying for my own, I find I ignore practical reasons by default and this question focuses me on the core matter of whether the proposition is worth it.

(This isn't new, but I don't remember where I got it.)

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