Danny Lipsitz

110 karmaJoined Jun 2020


Thanks, Luke. When I have some more time I might brainstorm next steps on this including how to put together a team. If so, I'll reach out!

Thanks for the feedback. The way I envision it, it wouldn't require any profound change of anyone's attitude. There are so many businesses doing round-up for charity around the world. If someone were to sleuth around and put in the time, surely they could identify the low-hanging-fruit of businesses that are happy to change their round-up charity at the credit card reader without much convincing. 

Of all the people in the position to change the setting on the credit card reader at their small business (if that's even how it works) some of them may be receptive to this for reasons like:

-they're receptive to some very basic compelling stats about a specific EA charity without having to subscribe to EA

-they don't really care what the charity is anyway and will change it if someone asks

Of course, I like your vision of the potential scope of this. Perhaps if there's any success with some small businesses here and there that don't take much convincing, down the line there could be more involved campaigns to get much larger supermarket chains, fast food joints, and payment processing companies to feature selected effective charities that are palatable to the general public.

I wonder how much thought even large companies put into this, though. In the non-profit world, are there huge, competitive campaigns to secure a spot on the round-up button at Walmart? Or is it more like, some random executive arbitrarily decides to feature St. Jude as the beneficiary? 

Thanks for posting. I've been trying to find the best place to donate in blindness prevention for a few giving cycles now.

Intuitively, it feels like interventions without the direct goal of mortality prevention, like preventing blindness, could achieve nearly as much good over the years as preventing deaths.

For me the ironic thing about critiquing current practices of EA is that it is, in itself, an act of EA.

The same can't necessarily be said for critiquing the underlying premise of EA.

Hey Aaron -- really want to sit down and read this thoroughly when I have a moment. Someone sent me the link to your post, otherwise, I haven't been on EA Forum for a minute.

That said, I did a talk on just this topic back at the EA Global "Unconference" over the summer. Would love to maybe be in touch about this idea...the link to my talk is here:

Ah, okay. So tractability is built into the term "most important"?

I thought they were two separate concepts: https://concepts.effectivealtruism.org/concepts/importance-neglectedness-tractability/

I agree that all that really matters is how effective a particular intervention will be in reducing suffering for the amount of money you plan to donate. Other metrics (especially neglectedness) are just heuristics.

Kind of unrelated, but I've wondered about these first two considerations that people use to pick a charity, as listed above: 

1) which cause is most important
2) which interventions in the cause are most effective

Couldn't there be a cause that is extremely important but just that don't have any good interventions? Maybe there is a "most effective" intervention for this cause, but it's still not that good, and donating to that intervention doesn't really result in much. 

I hate to admit it, but I think there does exist a utilitarian trade-off between marketability and accuracy. Although I'm thrilled that the EA movement prides itself on being as factually accurate as possible and I believe the core EA movement absolutely needs to stick with that, there is a case to be made that an exaggerated truth may be an important teaching tool in helping non-EAs understand why EAs do what they do.

It seems likely that Peter Singer's example has  had a net-positive impact, despite the inaccuracies. Even I was originally drawn to EA by this example, among a few of his others. I've since been donating at least 10% and been active in EA projects. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

We just have to be careful that the integrity of the EA movement isn't compromised due to inaccurate examples like this. But I think anyone who goes far enough with EA to learn that this example is inaccurate, or even cares to do so, will most likely already have converted into an EA mindset, which is Mr. Singer's end-goal.

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