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Pure altruism, Bill Harbaugh argues, is diluted by the number of people who benefit from our generosity. For example, if one gives money to a low-income individual, he or she benefits by seeing the level of well-being in the other person increase. However, many other people, who gave nothing, also get to see the level of well-being in that low-income individual person increase. This “free ride”, Harbaugh argues makes pure altruistic giving very inefficient in terms of happiness to the giver.
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