Thoughts on patient philanthropy

by Tobias_Baumann1 min read8th Sep 20205 comments


Longtermism (Philosophy)InvestingPatient AltruismHinge of History


  • Risk-free interest rates are currently very low. Therefore, patient philanthropy can only work with risky assets, such as stocks.
  • For risky assets, the attractiveness of such investments depends on one’s degree of risk aversion. Risk-averse investors should consider the certainty equivalent (i.e., the guaranteed return that’s equally desirable as the risky return) of investing rather than expected return. 
  • There are some reasons why patient philanthropy is differentially good for those who primarily wish to reduce suffering, compared to those with other longtermist goals.
  • Overall, I believe we should pursue both financial and non-financial investments (such as movement-building and cause prioritisation research). This is in part because there are not that many highly urgent interventions to directly reduce s-risks right now, and there might be more in the future.