::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact

Prioritizing By Happiness

July 6th, 2013
giving  [html]
When the limiting resource is money it's quite clear that we should prioritize the uses where it goes the farthest. If there are three organizations that can distribute antimalarial nets for $5/each, $50/each, and $500/each we should just give to the first one. Similarly, if I have $5 I could use it to have my electricity be generated by wind or I could use it to fund distribution of an additional antimalarial net. I can't spend that $5 on both, so I have to choose, and I choose based on which I think will do more good with the money.

When the limiting resource is happiness, however, prioritization comes less naturally. I could stop taking warm showers, take the bus instead of driving, spend less to donate more, go vegan, donate a kidney, not run fans in summer, or do any of a very large number of things to make the world better at some cost to me. The more I do, the better, but the less happy I am. If I chose options without looking at how they trade off my happiness against benefit to others it would be like choosing what clothes to buy based on how much I would enjoy wearing them and not considering how much they cost.

Comment via: google plus, facebook, lesswrong

Recent posts on blogs I like:

Empire State High- and Low-Speed Rail

If Swiss planners were hired to design an intercity rail network for New York State, they might propose something that looks like this: The trip times depicted on the map are a few minutes longer than intended, especially next to a terminus station like N…

via Pedestrian Observations January 27, 2020

Hedonic asymmetries

Creating really good outcomes for humanity seems hard. We get bored. If we don’t get bored, we still don’t like the idea of joy without variety. And joyful experiences only seems good if they are real and meaningful (in some sense we can’t easily pin down…

via The sideways view January 26, 2020

Live the questions now

Here’s some advice that my Godmother, Lynne Caldwell, gave me a few years ago. I found it again the other day and it struck me that at least I understand its wisdom now. She really did get my problem. It feels like he’s speaking directly to me. It’s from …

via Holly Elmore January 23, 2020

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


  ::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact