If you choose a profession that doesn't arouse your everyday passion for
the sake of serving instead some abstract faraway good, you might end up as a
person who values the far over the near. You might become one of those people
who loves humanity in general but not the particular humans immediately
around. You might end up enlarging the faculties we use to perceive the far
-- rationality -- and eclipsing the faculties we use to interact with
those closest around -- affection, the capacity for vulnerability and
dependence. Instead of seeing yourself as one person deeply embedded in a
particular community, you may end up coolly looking across humanity as a
Third, and most important, I would worry about turning yourself into a means
rather than an end. If you go to Wall Street mostly to make money for charity,
you may turn yourself into a machine for the redistribution of wealth. You may
turn yourself into a fiscal policy.
Making yourself is different than producing a product or an external outcome,
requiring different logic and different means. I'd think you would be more
likely to cultivate a deep soul if you put yourself in the middle of the
things that engaged you most seriously. If your profoundest interest is dying
children in Africa or Bangladesh, it's probably best to go to Africa or
Bangladesh, not to Wall Street.
Rationality is not a sin. Calculation is not a sin. Money is not inherently sinful. All of these things are means, and have the capability to do both great good or great harm, depending on the end to which they're applied. Jason Trigg understands this. David Brooks does not. And that's why I, personally, respect Jason Trigg a lot more than David Brooks.
Nevermind the fact that this whole pseudo-utilitarian premise is just a nice way to ignore the harm your day to day activities may have on those you are donating your money to because any harm is spread out among the entire industry and has so many levels of abstraction that a utilitarian analysis is impossible. The whole premise rests on the assumption that the benefit of his donations outweigh his share of any (likely indirect) harm done by his firm or the industry as a whole to those same areas.
I find the general premise of "work like a sociopath to make so much money you can do good with the money", whatever their forms, to be a textbook example of feeling good rather than doing good. You couldn't design a better system if you tried, all harm is abstracted away and very diffuse while the good feelings are attributable directly to yourself.
i'll give it a shot. jason is 1 guy works on a high frequency strategy. the net effect of this is probably something like: 10 low frequency market makers lose their jobs. meanwhile, dozens if not hundreds of malaria deaths are prevented.
i don't know, it seems net beneficial to me.
I'm curious why you claim that. It seems to me the goal is to redress the harm, not ignore it. You can't claim to know Jason Trigg's true internal motives, can you?
The whole premise rests on the assumption that the benefit of his donations outweigh his share of any (likely indirect) harm done by his firm or the industry as a whole to those same areas.
Nor can you claim that this assumption is false, given that you suggest a utilitarian analysis is impossible.
I find the general premise of "work like a sociopath to make so much money you can do good with the money", whatever their forms, to be a textbook example of feeling good rather than doing good.
By what logic? Do you claim that good isn't being done? You're of course right that harm is being indirectly done, but you have stated that there's no way to show whether more good or more harm is being done. So what exactly is the source of your cynicism?
> Nor can you claim that this assumption is false, given that you suggest a utilitarian analysis is impossible.
If the net harm of participating in a certain system for the sake of philanthropy is unknown but potentially significant, I think we ought to be a little careful about it.
Beyond that, even if one cannot prove that working at a hedge fund helps to propagate a system that may be resulting in the very same poverty that one's charitable contributions are meant to mitigate (and I'm not saying this is necessarily the case), we should try to be aware of the potential indirect outcomes of our actions, rather than assuming there is no downside whatsoever.
Which is to say, the only way to actually use the Precautionary Principle is to selectively apply it against thing you otherwise don't like. Or you could say that there are certain classes of things like scientific or medical advances that are the only places it should be applied, but this situation clearly isn't one of them.
there is a unknown (probably small, maybe great) harm in being a small part of the high frequency industry.
seems like a no brainer to me
That's the key. It sounds like Trigg has found a way to combine his skills with his values in a unique way.
Taking a job just to make money, on the other hand, is probably going to be corrosive, even if you use the money for charity rather than sports cars.