Thanks for this very comprehensive analysis!A quick addition: Another aspect that the PTC hypothesis as outlined here misses completely, and that appears quite important to consumers, is health. For instance, based on an n=3,700 survey done by Boston Consulting Group across EU, UK, US, Middle East and China (link), individual health is in many subgroups the top driver of choice between plant-based and conventional animal meat. This may explain the low incidence of repeat purchases (many people know and tried alt protein products, few consume them regularly): Consumers get disappointed with products like Beyond - if you buy a Beyond burger looking for a healthier alternative and then at home you check the label, you see that the nutrition is a bit better (lower sat fats) but you also see a bunch of ingredients you never heard of. Of course, if conventional animal products had to list every antibiotic and feed additive on the label, they would look worse... but they don't. So, as a consumer you feel "cheated" by the plant-based meat that you bought for health reasons. The resulting recommendation here is to shorten ingredient lists and transparently name products (alt dairy does this somewhat successfully - "oat milk" instead of "plant milk").
Thanks for your in-depth comment, Sanjay!
Maybe the most important point to clarify here is, I'm not arguing that for-profit investing is the best thing to do to increase civilizational resilience. It might be a good career option for some people but this will depend heavily on personal fit and other factors. I'm rather trying to test an argument that I envisage using with (not necessarily EA-familiar) VC investors for why civilizational resilience should be an explicit goal of for-profit investing.
On your specific points
My standard 10% donation this year was mostly made before FTX events fully unfolded and went to (by descending "ticket size")
In the light of recent events, and because I also know some of the FTX regranters well whose proposals didn't get funded, I will likely pull forward some donations from the next year(s). I think this makes sense if the projects one funds are of a nature that still makes sense given what we now know about EA's total assets, and if giving more now doesn't materially affect one's runway (i.e., one still keeps a comfortable buffer).
With our main donation in 2021, my partner and I supported the Future Matters Project (FMP), who are working on understanding and strengthening social movements, currently focused on climate change. I think of social movement research and work as a very valuable diversification of the "classical effective altruist" portfolio, and thus took up the opportunity to bridge a funding gap between two other grants.
I interacted with the FMP founder a bunch during and after making the grant, which seems to have added value for them (by asking questions, helping to brainstorm, and providing perspectives). This made me update somewhat towards "individual, medium-sized EA donors can be a valuable part of the ecosystem by adding grant-making and mentoring capacity".
Like many here (I suspect), we also donated to EA Funds. Finally, I am one of the people who make small donations to Wikipedia every year - though I think of this more as paying the utility bills^^Happy to chat about any and all of the above!
Hi all, adding a (refreshingly appreciative and rational!) update from the people who made the first cultivated meat burger in 2013, for reference : https://mosameat.com/blog/cultivated-meat-progress
Thanks for putting this together! A few additional points and highlights that may be especially relevant to people with Science backgrounds, based on my experience
my pleasure :)
In this case, it was a client project with Blue Horizon, so for a while it actually was my job to work on this report. That said, within three years at BCG, this is the first time I work on something so closely EA-related. I am putting in quite a bit of "flex time" now that the report is published and I am staffed on a different topic, to position myself for more work in this space.
I was hired as a generalist consultant after my biotech PhD, so I usually do a lot of pharma work, and some cases in other sectors. I made my way into this project by reaching out to the partners who had the client relationship - lots of internal networking, which is the usual way for consultants to get staffed on cases they want.
As to how replicable this sort of step may be for other EA-aligned management consultants, I think there are a lot of moving parts that need to "click" together: I had the biotech background, the right level of experience, I was free at the right time, I found out about the case and I had support from my network. If you need this kind of thing to happen within three years to be satisfied with your choice of going into consulting, it seems like an overly risky bet. As part of a portfolio of reasons to go into consulting, next to great personal fit, it seems fine. To increase the odds, the key factor is your network - there are now EA groups at all of the major firms; happy to point anyone already working there in the right direction.