[Question] Would an EA have directed their career on fixing the subprime mortgage crisis of ’07-’08 before it happened?

I am asking this question to understand how an ideal EA would employ EA ideas, tools, and other frameworks practically—for instance, how would an ideal EA use the Scale, Neglectedness & Tractability arguments here? What about long-termism? Given the frameworks used, would this EA prioritize this cause over other causes?

I think thought experiments like this could help us properly explain to newcomers the intricacies of the EA thought process. If there are other thought experiments like this that serve the same purpose, do post those in your answer.

Here are some assumptions you are allowed to make:

  1. Assume that although you are living before 07-08, EA concepts and ideas are where they are at right now. For instance, by 07-08, EAs already think AI & GCRs are high priority and that Givewell has done all of the mistakes they quote here and that 80k hours has already realized that leading with Earning to give was a bad idea and so on.

  2. Assume the EA in this scenario is actually well aware of the major ideas of EA: say they took the Stanford Introductory fellowship or they might even be running a local EA group.

  3. Assume the EA has a personal fit to help with this problem: say they are in the final year of their Econ PhD. But remember that they can direct their career towards other causes too.

  4. Also assume that this is not about hunting and finding Cause X: One fine night before 07-08, God descended into the EA’s bedroom and whispered in their ear, “You need to take a look at the US housing market”. But God left without telling that there will be a crisis in 07-08 because of it or what exactly to look at in that market—God is too active on FB and just got distracted. You can also think that the EA is one of the protagonists at the beginning of the movie ’The Big Short” (the movie starts at ’05).

If you are making additional assumptions then mention them in your answer.

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