Topic Contributions


I'm maximizing good, not my contribution to good

yeah; it seems obvious to me that "the good I accomplish" includes my contribution to allowing others to do good. I'm open to seeing evidence but I suspect the reason field-building, movement-building etc. isn't done as much as OP would like has nothing to do with this kind of confusion. In fact I think it's questionable how much you can do at the meta level if your direct work doesn't measure up. People show up when they see cool stuff being done, not so much when they hear you talk about the cool stuff that someone else should do. Sputnik did a great deal more for science and engineering education than running a bunch of commercials about the importance of science would have. 

Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

I was going to make essentially the same point. I may have too much political experience for my emotional reaction to be worth anything in judging how a normal voter would feel, but to me, half or more of the money coming from one person feels like a big deal. Less than half feels like something that would receive criticism but that I would  generally write it off as sour grapes.

The fact that it's crypto money specifically probably matters a lot. The partisan valence of crypto among average people is pretty right-wing because of bitcoiners' libertarian fantasies. In a more rational world that wouldn't affect perceptions of crypto generally but in this world it does. This may be too expensive to be worth it, but if SBF is really going to be spending a lot of money on Democratic primaries he may want to give some consideration to how to rehabilitate the image of non-BTC cryptocurrencies among Dem voters. 

Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

The only EA who's ever been an asshole to me was an asshole because I supported  Flynn, so I don't think there was some hidden anti-donations-to-Flynn movement that self-censored. EAs who opposed the idea were quite loud about it. 

Choosing causes re Flynn for Oregon

Also, no such thing as generic "too BOTEC-y to be useful." If you have a more rigorous calculation offer it. Otherwise BOTEC is the best available estimate and you should show it more respect until you do have an alternative. 

Choosing causes re Flynn for Oregon

Joe Biden raised 1.69 bn, Trump 1.96 b Little more than I thought but not a whole OOM. Closer to 1b than 10b. Call it 2bn to win if u prefer. 

"Doesn't have much effect" is too vague a statement to be meaningful. 1/1b increase in chance of winning is simultaneously "not much" and also enough to spend money on where the consequences are large enough. 

Choosing causes re Flynn for Oregon

This is why I suggest the marginal dollar is only 1/10 as effective as the avg dollar. I don't have any particular reason to think my est is off by an order of magnitude or more. If you do I'd like to hear it, and I suspect so would every campaign in the world. 

Choosing causes re Flynn for Oregon

My back of the envelope. Back back back, like maybe even outhouse of the envelope. It's very hard to calculate marginal cost per vote, in part bc there's sort of an efficient markets thing going on w donations in some cases and not others. A senate race in Wyoming costs roughly the same as one in California, because the seat is just as valuable, despite vastly different numbers of votes. But activists getting worked up about a race can change the numbers, and in solid blue states it seems you can win a House seat more cheaply than in swing states, where you have to win a primary and a general and the national partisan orgs dgaf about the primary. 

Approx 10m voters who matter in a Presidential campaign (i.e. the relevant pop of swing states). Takes about a billion to win. Naively this would suggest $100/vote, but multiply by 10x to $1000 for the marginal vote (iirc there IS some fancy econometrics way to estimate marginal dollar's impact better than this and I have seen it before; this is just dumdum math and I am dumdum). 


Do these numbers hold up for campaigns at other levels? Gonna set aside the Flynn campaign bc freakishly large amounts were spent. Normal House primary, maybe  1m spent. Maybe 100k votes cast in a blue district? Idk; it varies widely. I got this estimate from Ayanna Pressley's race, but it looks like in AOC's race only 30k were case, and 63k in Chris Pappas's primary race in a swing district. So, taking AOC as a sort of worst case,  30k votes cost 1m, ($33k each) assume the marginal vote is 10x that, it's $330 each. 

Or, thinking in terms of $ per election and ignoring numbers of votes, assuming 1m gets you a 50% chance of winning, $1=1/2m probability of winning election in a normal election.

But Flynn campaign cost more like $2000/vote (not marginal, avg) if reports of 8-figure SBF spend are to be believed. So under the same methodology this would imply ~20k per marginal vote. 

Should we be hiring more “unqualified” people?

If there are existing bounties, what's stopping random people from just going after the bounties themselves? For example, there was recently a writing contest on imagining positive AI futures; anyone could have written a piece. 


My impression is most of the talent bottlenecks are in areas where random people just don't have the skills, and where you need to be confident people are well-aligned. E.g. government/policy, management, entrepreneurs (broadly construed, to include starting charities). The third category you can't really even hire; you just have to make money available and let ppl come and get it if they're working on something relevant. 

How I torched my biggest career opportunity so far

Time's arrow goes only one way, my friend. Once it's gone you can't get it back, same as if you lit it on fire. 

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