If you take this model a step further, it suggests working on whatever the most tractable problem is that others are spending resources on, regardless of its impact, because that will maximally free up energy for other causes.
Sounds like something someone should simulate to see if this effect is strong enough to take into account.
[Our] research group is investigating the most promising giving opportunities among mental health interventions in lower and middle-income countries.
Any reason why you’re focusing on interventions that target mental health directly and explicitly, instead of any intervention that might increase happiness indirectly (like bednets)?
Can we come up with a list of existing pieces of art that come close to this? I don’t expect good ideas to come from first principles, but there might be some type of art out there that is non-cringy and conveys elements of EA thinking properly.
I’ll start with Schindler’s list, and especially this scene, where the protagonist breaks down while calculating just how many more lives he could have saved if he had sold his car, his jewelry, etc.
Okay, you’ve convinced me that a US based EA organisation should consider raising their wages to attract top talent.
This data does make me doubt the wisdom of basing non-local activities in the US, but that is another matter.
It does provide clarity, and I can imagine that there are unfortunate cases where those entry level salaries aren’t enough.
As I said elsewhere in this thread, I think this problem would be best resolved simply by asking how much an applicant needs, instead of raising wages accross the board. The latter would cause all kinds of problems. It would worsen the already latent center/periphery divide in EA by increasing inequality, it would make it harder for new organisations to compete, it would reduce the net amount of people that we can employ, etc etc.
But I could be wrong, and I sense that some of my thoughts might be ideologically tainted. If you feel the urge to point me at some econ 101, please do.
30 was just an arbitrary number. Is London still hard to live in for 60? Mind that the suggestion is to raise salaries from 75k to 100k. I can’t imagine many cases where 75k is prohibitive, except for those that feel a need to be competitive with their peers from industry (which, fwiw, is not something I outright disapprove of)
We should probably operationalize this argument with actual data instead of reasoning from availability.
Given the numbers that we have in mind, these examples are all very specific to the US.
Medical expenses don’t get much past $2k per year in most European countries. The only place where cost of living is prohibitively high past a ~$30k income, is San Francisco.
I’m not arguing against the idea that some people exist that should be given the $150k that is needed to unlock their talents. I’m arguing that this group of people might be very small, and concentrated in your bubble.
I think that’s the crux of the argument. If a majority of senior people needed $150k to get by, I’d agree that that should be the wage you offer. If these people make up just 1% of the population (which seems true to me), offering $150k to everyone else is just going to cause a lot of subtle cultural damage.
a lot of resentment would emerge
To the extent that this would cause resentment, I’d interpret that as a perception of a higher counterfactual, which means that the execution wasn’t done well.
It’s unclear to me what you mean with privilege. I’m trying to imagine a situation where making 75k is not enough for a low-privilege person, but I can’t think of any. AFAIK 75k is an extremely high wage. I know a CEO of a bank that makes that.
Don’t advertise the wage on the ad. Ask candidates how much they need to be satisfied, then give them that amount or the amount that they are economically worth to you, whichever is lower. Discourage employees from disclosing how much they make.
In preventing wage dissatisfaction, I think it’s better to look at perceived counterfactuals. This can come from being used to a certain wage, or a certain counterfactual wage being very obvious to you. Or it can come from your peers making a certain wage.
You seem to assume something like “people don’t like to accept a wage that is lower than they can get”. I suggest replacing that with “people don’t like to accept a wage that is lower than they feel they can get”.
I know some people that are deliberately keeping their income frozen at 15k so they won’t get used to more. They reason that if they did, not only would they be psychologically attached to that wage, to a lesser extent so would their peers. In some sense they are keeping up a healthy cultural environment where it’s possible to make little and still be satisfied.
I’ve heard of some organisations that don’t have a fixed wage for a job, but a maximum. They ask their applicants “how much would you need to be satisfied”, and that’s how much they get. I’d expect that this practice, combined with a culture that doesn’t overly discuss income or flaunt wealth, would be the best way to keep everyone satisfied, compete with industry, and still keep the average wage low.
I sometimes think about seeking funding outside of EA to increase the amount of available EA funding.
But I never made serious work of it. I have no idea what is available, or where to look. Governments? Foundations? With which ones does an Xrisk project have a chance? What’s a good strategy for applying to them?
I’d be very happy if someone dived into this.
You forgot ibogaine, which seems to be the most compelling example. According to lots of anecdotes across the internet, it reliably cures decades old addictions to heroin in a single sitting.
Still I don’t think psychedelic use is necessarily a good thing. It makes people more open to experience, which for some will be a door to madness. See for example Scott Alexander’s writings about it
Another consideration comes to mind: climate change is currently taking up a large amount of attention from competent altruistic people. If the issue were to be solved or its urgency reduced, some of those resources might flow into EA causes.
fwiw, I personally give it >75% probability that we will be able to survive at least until next round
Am certainly open to considering this business model for the hotel.
The hotel did apply.
The marginal per-EA cost of supplying runway is probably lower with shared overhead and low COL like that.
It’s about $7500 per person per year
As a potential grant recipient (not in this round) I might be biased, but I feel like there is a clear answer to this. No one is able to level up without criticism, and the quality of your decisions will often be bottlenecked by the amount of feedback you receive.
Negative feedback isn’t inherently painful. This is only true if there is an alief that failure is not acceptable. Of course the truth is that failure is necessary for progress, and if you truly understand this, negative feedback feels good. Even if it’s in bad faith.
Given that grantmakers are essentially at the steering wheel of EA, we can’t afford for those people to not internalize this. They need to know all the criticism to make a good decision, they should cherish it.
Of course we can help them get this state of mind by celebrating their willingness to open up to scrutiny, along with the scrutiny
For this specific post, I probably won’t add a summary because my guess is that in this specific case the size of the beneficial effect doesn’t justify the cost.
I still think you should write it. This looks like an important bit of information, but not worth the read, and I estimate a summary would increase the amount of readers fivefold.