Should I Pay for Something If I Don’t Have To?


If I can get something for free, there’s no reason I should pay for it.

Q1 Analysis

This may be a Q1 violation if you think that some forms of "voluntary" payment are not really voluntary.

Q2 Analysis

This is a Q2 violation if you would ever expect someone to voluntarily pay you for something.


There are many circumstances in which either you are given the opportunity to pay for something or it is implied that you should pay for it, but you are not compelled to do so. For example, if a computer company allows you to download their software at no cost but requests that you send them $10 if you like it, you might decide that if they want to give their stuff away, you’re going to let them.

If you make such a decision, you should (by Q2) consider whether you would want people to pay you if you marketed a product in this way. You might think that this is a silly way to market a product and be essentially voting against the practice by never paying the makers of "free" software. Or you might think that paying for software you use is a way to keep makers of such software in business.

Tipping is another form of payment that is usually discretionary. Culture may urge you to tip in certain circumstances, and tipping might be so prevalent that wages are based on the assumption that tips will be made, but you generally can’t be forced to leave a tip. If you were in a service job where tips were traditional, would you expect to get tips?

In which of these situations would you pay even though you could receive goods or services without payment?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on November 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

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