I can reply on behalf of Peter and I approve this message.
Having a reliable work-sample test and interview process allows me to hire fairly confidently without much regard to credentials.
The most common reaction I’ve heard to people who discussed their choice to pursue ETG or direct work outside of EA (for example, studying public health with an eye toward biosecurity or neglected tropical diseases) hasn’t been “okay, good for you, too bad you don’t work at an EA org”. It’s been “that’s really wonderful, congratulations!”
I’m really glad that’s been your experience and I acknowledge that maybe my experience isn’t typical.
My experience has been more pessimistic. Honestly, I usually encounter conversations that feel more like this:
Bob: “Hi, I can donate $10,000 a year to the EA movement. GiveWell says that could save 4-5 lives a year, and it’s quite possible we could even find better giving opportunities than GiveWell top charities. This is super exciting!”Alice: “Pff, $10K/yr isn’t really that much. We don’t need that. You should do direct work instead.”Bob: “Ok, how about I research biosecurity?”Alice: “Nah, you’d probably mess that up. We should just let FHI handle that. We can’t talk about this further because of infohazards.”
...Obviously this is dramatized for effect, but I’ve never seen a community so excited to turn away money.
There’s a bunch listed on this Sentience Institute page.
I think the framework of “try to figure out what EA most needs and do that” could be helpful, but can go wrong if over-applied. Personal fit is important. Comparative advantage is important. Spreading out talent is important too. If our movement was 100% ETG, that would be really bad. But if you’re some EA person and you’re having trouble figuring out what to do and can’t get an EA job or enter into some flashy academic field, doing ETG is a lot better than just feeling dejected. But right now the message I hear from EA has not always been in line with that.
Yeah, GiveDirectly feels like the kind of thing that could take hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. If we ever do run out of funding opportunities, which I don’t think we will any time soon, that’s a really good problem to have.
“Earning to give” feels like a pretty endlessly scalable use of people. What do you think?
A classic argument against social benefit companies is that they tend to do neither for-profitting or social benefitting that well—it would be more efficient to optimize for one or the other. What do you think of that?
I’d point out that your A and B are not mutually exclusive—I do a for-profit ETG job but also donate a significant amount of time to my own EA organization.
I’m not OP but my thoughts—I agree that when I see _a lot_ of downvotes on a seemingly reasonable post that had a decent amount of work and thought put into it and _no one_ explains why, I think there is a collective action problem that could discourage future contributions and weaken discourse. So while I wouldn’t think any one individual should be obligated to explain their downvotes, I think the community in aggregate does have such an obligation in these cases where there are a lot of downvotes and there is no clearly obvious reason why (e.g., obvious spam).
I agree—I just felt like it was well covered already by Luke’s comments.
Yes. Earning to give is a good choice and I’ve not suggested otherwise.
I really wish we (as an EA community) didn’t work so hard to accidentally make earning to give so uncool. It’s a job that is well within the reach of anyone, especially if you don’t have unrealistic expectations of how much money you need to make and donate to feel good about your contributions. It’s also a very flexible career path and can build you good career capital along the way.
Sure talent gaps are pressing, but many EA orgs also need more money. We also need more people looking to donate, as the current pool of EA funding feels very over-concentrated in the hands of too few decision-makers right now.
I also wish we didn’t accidentally make donating to AMF or GiveDirectly so uncool. Those orgs could continually absorb the money of everyone in EA and do great, life-saving work.
(Also, not to mention all the career paths that aren’t earning to give or “work in an EA org”...)
I agree that a failure to get funded does not imply funding constraints, but I definitely do think that many EA orgs, especially early ones, could benefit from more people with money looking to donate. There tends to be a large information asymmetry where you need to establish a clear track record and/or have someone spend a lot of time evaluating you before you can get funded. This is hard for early organizations to make happen.
I also think there are other systematic failures in EA where the best orgs do not always get fully funded.
I’d like to make this into a norm, but it does also pose a barrier for funding constrained EA organizations by increasing the costs of hiring.
You might also like seeing this report from last year on how cause preferences have changed.
This is definitely an interesting idea (two interesting ideas, I guess) worth exploring more. I worry though that some issues that might hold up these ideas are (1) these things generally being harder to compare, (2) not having any knock-on / flow-through effects of encouraging better behavior toward animals more specifically, and (3) companion animals being an important influence for people going veg.
Let me know if you’d want to look into this. :)
Hi… Peter here, I co-lead Rethink Priorities along with Marcus A. Davis...We’re currently funded by the EA Animal Welfare fund, the EA Foundation, and several EA individuals. We are still fundraising to continue to produce articles like this and in many other topics in farmed and animal welfare. You can see our current plans and fundraising needs here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/6cgRR6fMyrC4cG3m2/rethink-priorities-plans-for-2019
I don’t think it would be a super great idea to popularize weaknesses in corporate campaigns, as this would risk weakening corporate campaigning.
Yeah, I’m quite confident that corporate campaigns use a lot of shaming, for example see the “I’m Not Loving It” campaign against McDonalds that is currently running.