The question of what discount rate EAs should have is very important, and very tricky. I really have absolutely no idea what the correct answer is.

I’ll just make one comment here, though: which is that using “discount rate” as a term to denote this issue could be pretty misleading. When economists discount future income, they apply a steady discount rate: if the discount rate is 3%, then receiving $1 is worth $1 at year0, $(1*0.97) at year1, $(1*0.97*0.97) at year2, and so on. But it’s almost certain that an EA’s discount rate should be variable. If I had to guess what my discount rate should be, I’d put it at something like 30% for the next couple of years (because I think that it’s a particularly critical time for effective altruism, which I think is a particularly important social movement), tailing down to something close to 0% (and maybe even going negative for a while) after 5 or 6 years (because then I expect the effects of having a bigger and better platform on which to talk about effective altruism to counterbalance the benefits of doing things earlier rather than later).

No comments on this post yet.
Be the first to respond.