Constraints on effective altruism

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Causes or organizations use resources, primarily laborThe effective altruism community requires various resources that exist in limited supply, such as talent, funding, entrepreneurship, vetting, risk tolerance, and money, and thosethe ability to coordinate. These resources are limited. The fact that these resources are limited means thatmay be seen as constraintson effective altruism,  insofar as they limit the organization also has limited capabilities.community's capacity to attain its goals.

However, this consideration is also simplistic in some ways, and has at times been misinterpreted or misused. Todd (2018) lists nine common misconceptions related to the idea of "talent gaps". More recently, Todd et al. (2020) has argued that the main bottlenecks for the effective altruism movementcommunity now are neither general "talent" constraints nor funding constraints, but rather "specific skills and capacity", such as "organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management to help train people up, as well as specialist skills that people can put to work now." (See also scalably involving people.) It has also been suggested that the next major bottleneck might be "coordination — the ability to make sure people keep working efficiently and effectively together as the community grows" (Todd et al., 2020; see also cooperation and coordination).

Agarwalla, Vaidehi (2020) Collection of constraints in EA, Effective Altruism Forum, July 15.

Organization A is more talent constrained than funding constrained, and vice versa for Organization B. One might also say that Organization A faces more of a talent gap and organization B faces more of a funding gap (Todd, 2015). We can generalize these concepts:

80,000 Hours currently believes that, withinHowever, this consideration is also simplistic in some ways, and has at times been misinterpreted or misused. Todd (2018) lists nine common misconceptions related to the idea of "talent gaps". More recently, Todd et al. (2020) has argued that the main bottlenecks for the effective altruism community, talentmovement now are neither general "talent" constraints are more pressing thannor funding constraints (Todd 2015). This happens primarily because the effective altruism community has accessconstraints, but rather "specific skills and capacity", such as "organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management to large amounts of funding from members of this community pursuing earning to givehelp train people up, as well as external philanthropists.specialist skills that people can put to work now." (See also scalably involving people.) It has also been suggested that the next major bottleneck might be "coordination — the ability to make sure people keep working efficiently and effectively together as the community grows" (Todd et al., 2020; see also cooperation and coordination).

Todd, Benjamin (2015) Why you should focus more on talent gaps, not funding gaps, 80,000 Hours, November 27.
80,000 Hours’ overview of why talent constraints might be more important than funding constraints.

Todd et al. (2018) Think twice before talking about ‘talentgaps’ – clarifying nine misconceptions

Further readingBibliography

Naik, Vipul.Vipul (2014) On the concept of “talent-constrained” organizations., LessWrong, March 14.
Suggests that organizations might simply not be paying enough for talent, causing talent constraints, although there are countervailing considerations.

Todd, Benjamin. 2015.Benjamin (2015) Why you should focus more on talent gaps, not funding gaps., 80,000 Hours, November 27.
80,000 Hours’ overview of why talent constraints might be more important than funding constraints.

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