Re: poly: Showing That You Care: The Evolution of Health Altruism

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Thu May 13 1999 - 11:46:01 PDT

 Generally a good paper. It appears to apply to a broader set of phenomona
than your focus on health care suggests. I wonder how well it explains
things in other areas such as environmentalist politics.

 You say on page 2:
   "Thus A would prefer that B invest more in health, compared to what B would
  choose for himself".

 I don't see how this follows from your assumptions. You explain why A has
some motive to value B's health, but it appears that the relationship
between the value that A and B assign to B's health is still pretty dependant
on such things as the cost to A of improvements in B's health.

 I have doubts about whether black imprisonment rates support your
hypothesis the way you imply. I would expect altruistic signals to
focus on less brutal ways of discouraging drug use, and I would guess
that the imprisonment rate is better explained by desire to exile a
segment of the population that commits an above-average amount of crime.
If blacks are thought of as members of a different tribe by a significant
number of people, then your hypothesis would imply more effort to combat
drug use by poor whites than by poor blacks.

You say on page 19:
  "In many ways morals may be luxuries which the very poor can not afford".

 Your argument seems to imply people will abandon morals when subject to
a crisis that significantly reduces their life expectancy, but I doubt
it implies much about the morals of people who are commonly considered
very poor today, so I think this phrasing is somewhat misleading.

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list
Received on Thu May 13 11:48:02 1999

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST