260 karmaJoined Apr 2022Israel



From what I understand from conversations with SmokeFree Israel's staff (which admittedly might be biased) is that they were the only body pushing the legislation forward, and they had to work AGAINST the existing legislation. SFI wokred to fix problematic loopholes in the update to the tobacco taxation policy that had recently been passed, and petitioned to external legal bodies to help force the government to put the policy back on the agenda. They also provided the data and expert opinions that were pivotal in the discussions within the legislature once the issue had returned to the agenda.

Regarding room for funding - that point is entirely valid. We don't think that SFI replaces AMF or MC as a top charity that everyone should donate to, but is evidence that more highly cost-effective opportunities exist if you look for them.

To emphasize Cornelis's point:

I've noticed that most of the tension that a "cause-first" model has is that it's "cause" in the singular, and not "causes" (ie - people who join EA because of GHWB and Animal Welfare but then discover that at EAG everyone is only talking about AI). Marcus claims that EA's success is based on cause-first, and brings examples:

"The EA community was at the forefront of pushing AI safety to the mainstream. It has started several new charities. It's responsible for a lot of wins for animals. It's responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives. It's about the only place out there that measures charities, and does so with a lot of rigor. "

But I think that in practice, when someone today is calling for "cause-first EA", they're calling for "longtermist / AI safety focused EA". The diversity of the examples above seem to support a "members-first EA" (at least as outlined in this post).

Great post, I'm glad this is up for debate. 

I'm mostly worried about situations where the majority of the board is made up of different representatives of a single funder / donor. For the example of Claire - I think it's fine that she represents OP interests to CEA. I'm more worried when the other board members and executives are also very strongly OP affiliated - then it seems like the nonprofits ability to carry out it's mission is harmed. If a nonprofit has an appearance of independence but in practice is managed / owned by a different organization, that seems problematic. Of course, in the case of CEA, I have no idea what went into the decision making process and what the counterfactual looks like (for example - where there other people who wanted that role?), and it's quite possible there are good reasons for this especially post FTX, so I'm less critiquing the results and more of a process that looks like philanthropy -> nonprofit, but in practice is parent company -> subsidiary.

Excellent post, and great work on the research report!

From a narrative perspective I think the analogy between Clean Water and Clean Air is great. However, I'm wondering if from a R&D and implementation perspective a more fitting analogy would be clean cooking fuel, heating or solar power (which you do mention). Clean water systems need large investment in infrastructure and government implementation upfront, as much as they need more technological advancement, since Clean Water is a public good. Indoor Clean Air, or at least the solutions you described above, don't need large infrastructure or government investment. The quality of the air in my house or office is a private good. The private market can develop the R&D and market directly to consumers, without the need for the government to step in, as long as there's consumer interest. 

The fact that the TOC for Clean Air Indoors doesn't need to go through government makes me more optimistic about success (although of course if there are government standards and gov R&D spending, it will go faster).

On the other hand, perhaps Indoor Clean Air is more similar to lead paint regulation, where the individual consumer isn't aware enough of the dangers and benefits, even though theoretically it's more lucrative to sell safe paint than poisonous paint.

Love this idea as a new format for university groups! Let's not just focus broadly on undergrads, but get people who already have specific skills and expertise to think deeply about their chosen field.

Wishing you best of luck Markus!

As one of the people who Markus worked with during the pilot phase, I can very much attest to the value he brings to an organization, and would be happy to speak with any potential funders about my experience working with Altruistic Agency.


Great post, thanks for writing. I also found your previous post on hiring also very helpful. I'd be very interested in a syllabus of key concepts and materials. Even something low-effort (ie - a google doc with a list of terms/concepts to google and a list of general materials) would be useful. Please let me know if there's anything I could do to make this move forward. Thanks!

Great points, very much liked your directness.