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Free sex and tax deductibility for donations

  • March 8th, 2008

“Even the most committed capitalists often prefer their cooking, conversation and sex to take place on a voluntary basis.”

The Spectator notes  the fascinating economic research into the “irrational” way we can prefer truly free goods and services, over the same benefits for a trivial charge. Cheap is step-different from free. Altruism is powerful. Selfishness can not explain economic man.

This reminds me – I must find out when the unlimited deductibility of charitable donations takes effect. When I last checked there was still uncertainty about the definition of ‘charitable’.

I expect that law change to have a quiet but eventually enormous long term effect in rebuilding civil society in New Zealand. True private patronage will supplant the State, or at least offer alternatives, in serving people, in career opportunites, in motivation. It will reinvigorate and discipline the arts, education,  welfare and charity. We’ll see a re-emergence of debate and experimentation  suppressed for decades under reactionary union, bureacratic and other groups whose hands grip the levers of the State.

It is no wonder, in that light, that they’re fighting back. The Charities Commission is one tool. It is being obliged to patrol an unjustifiable disqualification of charities that engage in political advocacy. That is exactly where New Zealand could benefit most – a hot-house political/media caste should be challenged by advocacy outside the contol of those who decide how taxes are spent.


  • Spam
  • March 8th, 2008
  • 10:19 am

I was reading an article the other day where it was found that a placebo that cost $2.50 works “better” than the same placebo where the recipient is charged $0.10. This back up research that shows that medicine in general that is paid for is more effective than medicine that is free.

  • paul scott
  • March 10th, 2008
  • 6:24 pm

remember CORSO

  • Ed Snack
  • March 12th, 2008
  • 9:45 am

Actually Stephen, I believe you are incorrect, selfishness can readily account for altruism, there is much writing available on this topic within evolutionary psychology. It becomes a matter of what you consider is being rewarded by altruistic behaviour. If you regard rewards narrowly it is in fact hard to see how altruism benefits someone, but if you include a wide definition, including status and the gratification of internal psychological states, then altruism fits perfectly easily with selfishness. The problem is the definition of “economic man”, but surely that is not an issue with the broader issue of selfishness in humans, but an incorrectly specified problem.


Though when you start to include in selfishness the gratification of a need to help your family, or others, the word loses its usefulness.

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