GMcGowan

EtG @ Google

Currently funding YIMBY policy work in the UK

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Questions about YIMBY

Good post. If you're interested, the "Street Votes" idea was developed into a detailed policy paper by another UK think tank, and then proposed to Parliament by some MPs. Shortly afterwards the housing minister was sacked and a new minister appointed, so things could go either way.

Founders Pledge also did a great report on this topic, where they try to estimate the extent of the problem (in the UK) and the benefits of fixing it.

Economic policy in poor countries

Off topic, but I didn't realise you'd left Founders Pledge. May I ask what you're up to now?

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

That's true. I just listened to the most recent 80k podcast where they joke about buying up GPUs so it was in my head :) 

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

FWIW my reading of the question is: "What projects could be created, that have the potential to scale to $100m".  I didn't read it as suggesting funding a megaproject from scratch.

Many EA projects are of the "start a research institute" flavour, and will likely never absorb $100m. I see the post as a plea for projects which could (after starting with smaller amounts and then scaling) absorb these sums of money. Much like Givedirectly wasn't started with $100m/year budget right away, but has proven itself capable of deploying that much funding.

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

Out of all the ideas, this seems the most shovel-ready. 

MacArthur will (presumably) be letting go of some staff who do nuclear policy work, and would (presumably) be happy to share the organisations they've granted to in the past. So you have a ready-made research staff list + grant list.

All ("all" :) ) you need is a foundation and a team to execute on it. Seems like $100 million could actually be deployed pretty rapidly. 

Possibly not all of that money would meet EA standards of cost-effectiveness though - indeed MacArthur's withdrawal provides some evidence that it isn't cost effective (if we trust their judgement).

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

Proof of concept for a geoengineering scheme (could be controversial)

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

Buy up scarce resources which are being used for bad things and just sit on them. Like the thing where you buy rainforest to prevent logging. Coal mines, agricultural land used for animals, GPUs?!

What EA projects could grow to become megaprojects, eventually spending $100m per year?

Activist investment fund which invests in large companies and then leans on them to change their policies. Examples abound in climate change, but other than that:

  • Food related companies to stop factory farming
  • Biotech companies to stop them from doing gain of function or mirror life research
What would you do if you had half a million dollars?

Thanks for the post, I found your thoughts interesting. I’m always glad to see discussions of where people are donating.

In general, it kind of seems like the "point" of the lottery is to do something other than allocate to a capital allocator. The lottery is "meant" to minimise work on selecting a charity to give to, but if you're happy to give that work to another allocator I feel like it makes less sense?

With that in mind, I have a couple of thoughts for things you might consider:

  • Lottery again! You could sponsor CEA to do a $1m lottery. If you thought it was worth it for $500k, surely it would be worth it for $1m!
  • Be quite experimental, give largish grants to multiple young organisations, see how they do, and then direct your ordinary giving toward them in the future. This money can buy access to more organisations, and setup relationships for your future giving.
  • Do you know of people outside established organisations, in your personal network for example, who could use EA funding? If so, that represents an edge over capital allocators and you could exploit that.
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