The Valmont Effect

John Elster

in Giving Well

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199739073
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855872 | DOI:
The Valmont Effect

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This chapter raises and answers the question: Why do people give? Both altruistic and egoistic explanations for charitable giving are considered and found wanting. The chapter explores the egocentric motivation for giving that locates the impetus for giving in the desire of people to experience the warm glow of giving. The chapter finds, however, that egocentric giving is saddled with its own irrationality. In particular, donors who are motivated by the egocentric desire for the warm glow must believe that they are acting for purely altruistic reasons to secure the warm glow, but in truth they give for the sake of the warm glow. Thus, they are self deceived.

Keywords: altruism; egocentric motivation; egoistic motivations; irrationality; philanthropy; warm glow

Chapter.  8270 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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