Consider three kinds of acts: S. Selfish – helps you, and no one else. A. Altruistic – helps others, at a cost to you. M. Mixed – helps others, and helps you. To someone who is honestly and simply selfish, acts of type A would be by far the least attractive. All else equal such people would do fewer acts of type A, relatives to other types. Because they don’t care about helping others.
I think the "wanting to be seen as" problem is behind the relative lack of interest of those most concerned by environmental problems.
But credit from observers doesn't appear to change much in the case of adoption.
(Maybe I'm wrong here; no direct experience.)
I have to agree with the others here: at the local level jobs may disappear but they usually reappear somewhere else. Poor countries initially lost jobs but are now gaining jobs at the expense of richer nations, because of globalization. Of course economists presented this scenario way too simply and "forgot" to mention that the gains are uneven (and problematic if not managed) and the whole process takes decades.
That is a pointless philosophical discussion. Sure you can create a standard for altruism that is impossible for any possible mind to reach, but you might as well say the glass is half full and say that people who enjoy** the feeling of helping others are altruistic (having such people around you sure makes for a more pleasant life).
** naturally that must have evolved for a reason at some point but does that really matter (especially if the person is not even aware of the precise evolutionary origin of the feeling)?
Wanting to be seen as altruistic is selfish and only having to actually act that way redeems it to being mixed, so the question is whether there are any truly altruistic acts. Anonymous donations probably come closest.
While I have seen those observations, I usually attribute them to people having too much time on their hands, and consider them neither altruistic or selfish but simply part of our evolutionary adaptation and natural variability.
Quick, someone name Robin for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
"Do tell me what principle prevents trade from devastating third world countries!"
Comparative advantage, David Ricardo, 1817. "Widely regarded as one of the most powerful yet counter-intuitive insights in economics."
Exactly--just look at China, which has now been suffering the ravages of international trade for close to 3 decades.
Yes and, also, think about what the word "nursing" literally means. Is it really that mysterious why the job-title connotes altruism?
You predict neglect of type M acts relative to type A acts but everywhere I look I see a much higher quantity and magnitude of M acts than A acts. Type A acts are often highlighted by the media, but perhaps that is because they are so rare that it becomes newsworthy. Doesn't what people spend on their kids dwarf charitable giving?
Many things are uttered here that aren't well-proven, even by RH. Obviously, you can't tolerate the implications and would prefer not to hear of them, particularly if they are stated emphatically.
It isn't conjectural that NAFTA ravaged Mexican agriculture.
It's more significant (here) not to misstate "known economic principles." Do tell me what principle prevents trade from devastating third world countries! (Every successfully developing country has used tariffs, regardless of the opinions of some hidebound economists.)
"International trade has caused, internationally, the unemployment of hundreds of millions of workers."
That is highly implausible, and counter to known economic theory. At the very least, you shouldn't throw it out there as though it is a well-accepted and proven fact. It isn't.
It seems to be a common intuition that not having children is neutral.
Only among those who don't beget them (or before they have begotten them).
Parents believe their children owe them their lives: that's why they owe their parents respect.
"My guess is that only a small percentage of parents really have the financial means of ensuring their kids a shot at a good future"You sound like you have a very restrictive definition of "good". Robin Hanson's view is that even the very poor like being alive, and would regard their coming into life as a good thing.
I think the inventing vs nursing thing is much more about interacting with needy people than "fun".
Every born life is a vulnerability that is exposed to death. It is also a life that is exposed to existential conundrums: questions to which there are currently no fulfilling answers.
Mainstream antinatalists might also talk about suffering, rather than death. This is true. A lot of people probably won't even come to terms with the existential, either due to impoverished conditions or a delusional cultural upbringing.
My guess is that only a small percentage of parents really have the financial means of ensuring their kids a shot at a good future with minimized risk. Laypeople might consider suffering and loss to be a part of life that teaches maturity, and something to be proud of, especially because anyone who is bound to succeed (who is not otherwise being bred to succeed, i.e. not inheriting wealth or substantial privilege) would have had to been exposed to these truths nonetheless. But I do think it makes sense to also consider investing the time to improve existential conditions, overall, rather than just creating offspring.
Also: I'm not sure on what ethical grounds a parent can be considered a genetic owner. It isn't like the kid *asked* to be born. How does a kid consent to these things; at what age? or milestone? should they gain rights as an individual? Parent-child relationships with financial dependence and complex emotional ties can be abusive or difficult in ways that are more subtle than what is typically thought of as abuse. I mean, a parent might lobby for the child's fulfillment of certain expectations. Failure to perform might equate to parental disappointment, which is also pretty damaging emotionally. My guess is that a small percentage of parents would be as liberal or willing to empathize with child autonomy as one might hope for. These issues are difficult, overall. I would be curious to see what real argument there is in favor for altruistic child-rearing as the norm.
Also, I admit that people don't seem to be complaining about death or being alive as much as one might imagine I think it ought to be.