Sounds like if you could cheaply get rid of anti-money-laundering laws, this would be pretty effective altruism:> Necessarily applying a broad brush, the current anti-money laundering policy prescription helps authorities intercept about $3 billion of an estimated $3 trillion in criminal funds generated annually (0.1 percent success rate), and costs banks and other businesses more than $300 billion in compliance costs, more than a hundred times the amounts recovered from criminals.Found at this Marginal Revolution post.
Seems plausible. Presumably if some crime is deterred by these rules, which would leave the $3bn an under-estimate of the benefit. On the other hand, without the rules we might see more innovation in financial services, which would suggest the $300bn an under-estimate of the costs.
Unfortunately I think it is very unlikely we could make any progress in this regard, as governments do not like giving up power, and the proximate victims are not viewed sympathetically, even if the true incidence of the costs is broad.
There have been attempts in the past to reform, as they particular harm poor immigrants trying to send cash home, but as far as I am aware these attempts have been almost entirely unsuccessful.
Presumably if some crime is deterred by these rules, which would leave the $3bn an under-estimate of the benefit.
I'd imagine that the crime deterred can't be too much more than $3bn worth - altho perhaps if you steal $x, the social cost is much larger than $x.
Poaching, murder, terrorism, and sex trafficking all cause more than just financial harm, although I don't know what portion of the crime prevented by AML laws is these things. Authoritarian states like the PRC, which has been systematically oppressing Muslims and Tibetans, participate in money laundering, too. Decriminalization of drugs and sex work would reduce the amount of illicit drug and sex trafficking, since legal producers would outcompete the criminal organizations, while growing the economy.
Ted Kaczynski as a relatively apolitical test case for cancellation norms (x-posted from LW, I'd link but the shortform post editor won't really let me):Ted Kaczynski was a mathematics professor who decided that industrial society was terrible, and waged a terroristic bombing campaign to foment a revolution against technology. As part of this campaign, he wrote a manifesto titled "Industrial Society and Its Future" and said that if a major newspaper printed it verbatim he would desist from terrorism. He is currently serving eight life sentences in a "super-max" security prison in Colorado.My understanding is that his manifesto (which, incidentally, has been updated and given a new title "Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How", the second edition of which was released this year) is lucid and thought-out. Here are some questions the answers to which are not obvious to me:- Should anybody read "Industrial Society and Its Future", given its origin?- Suppose an EA group wrote to Kaczynski in prison, asking him to write a letter about opposition to technology to be read aloud and discussed in an EA meetup, and he complied. Would it have been unacceptable for the EA group to do this, and should it be unacceptable for the EA group to hold this meetup?
To be explicit, here are some reasons that the EA community should cancel Kaczynski. Note that I do not necessarily think that they are sound or decisive.- EAs are known as utilitarians who are concerned about the impact of AI technology. By associating with him, that could give people the false impression that EAs are in favour of terroristic bombing campaigns to retard technological development, which would damage the EA community.- His threat to bomb more people and buildings if the Washington Post (WaPo) didn't publish his manifesto damaged good discourse norms by inducing the WaPo to talk about something it wasn't otherwise inclined to talk about, and good discourse norms are important for effective altruism.- It seems to me (not having read the manifesto) that the policies he advocates would cause large amounts of harm. For instance, without modern medical technology, I and many others would not have survived to the age of one year.- His bombing campaign is evidence of very poor character.