That's a contradiction (or maybe just a conundrum): if a revolution causes 10,000 to die this year but saves 100,000 lives next year, wouldn't it be a good thing? Or is it both a good thing and a bad thing (bad now, good later)?Bartholomew said:In ethical altruism, everyone does the greatest good for the greatest number. All revolutions cause a lot of harm to many people before they cause any good; hence, no revolutions in ethical altruism.
I think present and future consequences still would be taken into consideration, but the difficulty in deciding would lead to severe problems. If, for example, you acted ethical altruistically only in the precise present time, society would quickly disintegrate. There'd be no innoculations, for example (they hurt). But that's just an easy one: how could you convince a group of such people to form a line for dinner? They'd starve to death while trying to let each other go first!
In any case, I agree with your first response: its an impossible hypothetical. Forced to consider it, I'd say both socieies would disintegrate equally rapidly.
The real question should be short-term vs long-term. In the short term, the actions of egotistical and altruistic people are vastly different, but in the long-term the actions converge. Given enough time, egoism and altruism become equivalent.