Guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
I know that I am in minority here, but I am trying to make it a vocal minority.
It's simple, really.
If pool-hopping results in more income, and you're not providing more shares (more assistance in finding a block...you know, more WORK) you're getting something for NOTHING.
That "something" has to be taken from somebody else -- but the only "somebody else's" are the other miners on that pool, who are all contributing shares (work).
So those who make extra money by pool hopping are getting money that WOULD HAVE GONE TO OTHER MINERS. Hence the low-tech term, "stealing".
And no, hoppers aren't putting in their "valuable time" to "optimize" their operation. Not all work is productive.
If I spend an hour optimizing Poclbm, or cooling my rigs/increasing my overclock rates, THAT is productive. I get more hashrate, and more shares -- more WORK is done. My machines can do more WORK because they're more efficient.
The argument of the pool-hoppers is like saying I can compare 2 hours of actual work for a client with 1 hour of goofing off and 1 hour of carefully falsifying records, etc. so I get paid for 2 hours.
No, even though the results are comparable, there is no comparison!
I'm sure the boss would rather pay me 2 hour for 2 hours' work, than 2 hours for 1 hours' work and 1 hours' work falsifying documents.
The pool hoppers would say, "It doesn't matter. You did 2 hours worth of work either way, and you got your 2 hours pay". In fact, they'd say it would be even better to spend 1 hour working, 1 hour falsifying records, and get paid for THREE hours. When confronted with the immoral nature of that transaction, they'd claim to be "optimizing" their work day.
I'm sure bank robbers put in some "work" to pull off their heists as well -- but sorry, that work can't ever be claimed.
When you do useless "work" -- whether it be "casing the joint", noting when your neighbors are home, taking pictures of the bank's security systems -- or fine-tuning your pool hopping operation -- no one owes you any recompense for such work. Your spending time in that manner is your own problem. You might as well have watched TV for all the time spent doing such activities.