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On Monday I did an interview for a TV show (to appear in 2010), and they put me up at a famous expensive hotel. I’m sure others get extra value from this hotel, but it didn’t do much for me. I asked the show manager about this and he said that they have ethical problems with paying cash to interviewees, but want to compensate them for their trouble. I sighed, thinking: what exactly could go wrong with cash that couldn’t go wrong with generous travel compensation?
I suppose we could make sense of this by assuming that observers can’t be bothered to notice the amount of cash given or the quality of the travel provided, all they can tell is if you were given cash, travel expenses, or both. But I’m kinda skeptical this is really what’s going on.