Bridget L

33 karmaJoined


I think that this question framed as an all-or-nothing is difficult to answer - we don't know how to measure all the benefits as well as risks that the current community patterns afford us. Plus we can't exactly change "EA" as a whole - but we could add subcomponents that have tighter centralisation, official membership etc.

This could be a great undertaking as a "spin-off" brand that collaborates closely with existing EA community groups. There are some follow-on questions that come to mind like:

  • would the target members be primarily working in high-impact roles or would they be in other professions and have an interest in EA? (Less educational perks can be offered if the member base is from different industries)
  • is there a segment of people who would join the professional association and be a part of that community that wouldn't be otherwise interested in EA? (Maybe other philanthropy-focused professionals)

(Cons of a spin-off approach come to mind, namely confusing org structures)

Really interesting way to start looking at this idea. I have been wanting to think about this topic for a while but it's such a large question — using ChatGPT seems like a good way to get a foothold.

Some other organisations that I think have lessons for EA are the 20th century "service groups" like Rotary International, Lions Club etc. Particularly Rotary has some similarities (local groups, international network) and some successes in ambitious projects (eradicating polio). Under the categories you put forward, I think this would be categorised under social movement support but perhaps also network development by influencing people who end up holding power.

It's not clear to me what's most useful about doing these comparisons — maybe we can see certain outcomes we want to avoid, or learn about ways that the initial philosophy of the organisation changes over the lifespan. I also think there are some interesting observations about what gives an organisation a long lifespan or do these movements primarily confine themselves to people of a single generation. 

Completely agree with this and have been thinking about mechanisms for doing this lately.

I think there are high context and low context services. A low context service doesn't require knowledge of EA to perform, high context does.

Services that are low-context (i.e. doesn't require knowledge of EA to perform) should be selected based on quality & price. There's no reason to prefer that a member of EA is making money as a web developer (as opposed to any other provider) unless you believe you're getting more than what you pay for based on their membership to the community.

Services that are high-context there's amore nuanced case: there might be a lot of benefits to having more people trained up in that domain specific skill. Essentially, there are positive externalities to having this funded. But, I still believe the signal of how much orgs are willing to pay is very important.

An idea about cost effectiveness evaluation for services: "Primary industry" organisations can approximately model cost effectiveness in terms of their main output: $ per life saved, $ per career change etc. When somebody charges for their services, it requires the primary orgs to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of that service. How many more lives saved if this operational system cost less to run? If we had a better website?

I imagine there could be a way of capturing that trade-off and having service providers estimate their impact through the prices organisations are willing to pay.

So glad this exist, incredible work. EA can aspire to a norm of transparency that is far beyond the standard set by every other movement/industry.

This has been on my mind a lot lately:

There seems to be a few directions that this kind of discussion could to go:

  1. What does "ideal funding" look like for the EA ecosystem? What's our model for getting there? I've heard the assumption "we need more billionaires" and I can agree that that's true but I'd love to see a fleshed out model for what that target state looks like. Can we ever have too much money? How would we know?

  2. What are the issues in the current funding landscape and how can they be characterised? I.e. if we think there's too much centralisation, why is that & what are we trading of against?

  3. If you're starting a new organisation, are there any key considerations for how to get funding given what we know about the funding landscape?