BenHoffman comments on Cash transfers are not necessarily wealth transfers - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: BenHoffman 02 December 2017 09:53:42PM 1 point [-]

There's an implied heuristic that if someone makes an investment that gives them an income stream worth $X, net of costs, then the real wealth of their society increases by at least $X. On this basis, you might assume that if you give a poor person cash, and they use it to buy education, which increases the present value of their children's earnings by $X, then you've thereby added $X of real wealth to their country.

I am saying that we should doubt the premise at least somewhat.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 December 2017 11:35:11PM *  0 points [-]

I have no disagreement with that :)

Still, I don't actually see that much evidence that recipients spend the money on positional goods to a significant extent. To simplify, they seem to mostly buy food and productive assets.