(Crossposted from LW.)
I worry a lot about the inefficiencies created by preventing competent researchers from allocating their time according to their own judgment of what is optimal. I think researchers can be several times more effective with financial freedom. There's a steep cost paid by forcing researchers to compromise between optimising for what they care about and what their money cares about. Value of information is relative to the brain computing it, so competent people will usually best be able to estimate it on their own, even if the results are illegible to everybody else. They'll find their path much faster if they can search through and abandon projects speedily, and don't have to have their attention toted about by anyone or anything other than themselves--as if the harness isn't going to chafe, as if anyone knows their own use better than they do.
But enough of my motivation. Do you feel like you are working on the most important thing you could work on? And if not, are you bottlenecked by being paid to do a different thing? Even if you are allocated optimally atm, how easy would it be for you to switch paths right now if that's what you wanted? How costly would it be for you personally to just abandon your current project and hop to a new one if you thought it was a better use of your time?
I'm trying to get a sense of how much self-judged inefficiency is caused by a lack of financial slack among LW/EA-reading researchers. Feel free to answer here or admonymously (you don't need to share your name, but if you do, I promise not to share it on).