Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I honestly think it is very difficult, if not impossible, to assess the individual value of rank-and-file work to society as a whole.

It is easy to build something and say "this helped family X, or this powered Y homes", but there are so many externalities that are simply hidden. What if family X is part of Nation Z, who is about to start thermonuclear war W?

It's just a guessing game at that point. It seems that most people ignore it under the guise of "well, I do the good that I can", but it's false comfort, IMO.

Sure, it may be an educated guess, but we have to try.

It's better than the alternative, which is to assume that any job that pays (and thus is from a company that earns profit) has equal impact or externalities with all other companies.

A lack of clarity shouldn't be an excuse for not trying.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact