Suppose the reason you're wandering in the desert is that you're on the way home from buying an engagement ring for your sweetie with the cash you got as an unexpected bonus you won from a raffle you forgot you entered, and you took a wrong turn. Instead of a thousand dollars in your pocket, you've got a diamond ring you just paid a thousand dollars for. Jorge is willing to accept the ring for a bottle of water.
Suppose instead that you're lost in the desert with totally empty pockets, but you just happen to find a diamond engagement ring lying in the sand. Being the expert appraiser you are, you correctly estimate the value of the ring at $1000. Again, Jorge wheels on by and is willing to take the ring in trade for a liter of water.
Are these scenarios different? If so, why? Which one is closer to euvoluntary? Kahneman and Tversky did quite a bit of very good work describing the endowment effect, where the simple act of possessing a thing increases its relative value to the holder. The Bird in the Hand theory, if you will. How about emotional freight? In the first circumstance, the ring carries with it special significance, but is that significance relevant to third parties?
I ask because I'm still puzzling over contaminated charity and to a lesser extent, commercial transactions. If I raise money for breast cancer research by holding a wet t-shirt contest, should I be surprised if the recipient turns it down? Can the Sierra Club accept donations from known polluters in good conscience? How about going into hock? All else equal, is there any moral difference between on the one hand pawning a ring from a broken engagement and on the other hand one handed down from grandma?
And what of the use of the proceeds? The reason the kid in China who sold his kidney to buy an iPad made international news was that his purchase was pretty widely regarded as frivolous. If he'd have done it to make a mortgage payment or two for the family home, I don't think there would have been as much outrage. I think I've made a case here for regret aversion by proxy as being a reasonable source of much paternalistic sentiment, but what other proxy sentiments might have bite? Prudence? Propriety? Dignity? Cleanliness? How much of this sentiment rules beliefs over the first two conditions of EE: conventional ownership and conventional capacity to exchange?
Also, forgive the misleading title. I'm interested to see if I get more spam comments from bots. Consider it a test of sorts.