What would it have taken to do something about this crisis in the first place? Back in 2008, central bankers were under the assumption that the theory of central banking was completely worked out. Academics were mostly talking about details (tweaking the tailor rule basically). The theory of central banking is already centuries old. What would it have taken for a random individual to overturn that establishment? Including the culture and all the institutional interests of banks etc? Are we sure that no one was trying to do exactly that, anyway?It seems to me that it would have taken a major crisis to change anything, and that’s exactly what happened. And now there are all kinds of regulations being implemented for posting collateral around swaps and stuff. It seems that regulators are fixing the issues as they come up (making the system antifragile), and I don’t see how a marginal young naive EA would have the domain knowledge to make a meaningful difference here.And that goes for most fields. Unless we basically invent the field (like AI Safety) or the strategy (like comparing charities), if the field is sufficiently saturated with smart and motivated people, I don’t think EA’s have enough domain knowledge to do anything. In most cases it takes decades of work to get anywhere.
Consider this—say the EA figured out the number of people the problem could affect negatively (i.e) the scale. Then even if there is a small probability that the EA could make a difference shouldn’t they have just taken it? Also even if the EA couldn’t avert the crisis despite their best attempts they still get career capital, right?
Another point to consider—IMHO, EA ideas have a certain dynamic of going against the grain. It challenged the established practices of charitable giving that existed for a long time. So an EA might be inspired by this and indeed go against the established central bank theory to work on a more neglected idea. In fact, there is at least some anecdotal evidence to believe that not enough people critique the Fed. So it is quite neglected.