165 karmaJoined Nov 2022


I would look again at your opening sentence for a more fundamental clue as to why the EA community is susceptible to bad behaviour.

Thank you Claire.

Just to understand fully: in your role in OpenPhil in November 2021, you acted as the key decision-maker to award a grant of ~£15m to the Effective Values Foundation while simultaneously acting as a Director of the Effective Values Foundation (appointment confirmed on 18 July 2019.)

Or have I misunderstood the role of "grant investigator" or some aspect of the timing?

An apparently significant point: the guilty plea + press release from SEC asserts that their part in the fraud began in May 2019 - i.e., the date FTX was founded. 

So, at least in SEC's eyes, FTX was founded as a fraud and has been ever since. Seems the implication for recovery of funds would be that giving/grant date is irrelevant - it is likely to all be viewed as proceeds from fraud.

In particular, I expect that in the short term you’ll get a lot less communication about things than you’d want. This is for a few reasons:

  • Legal risk. It’s likely that there will be extensive legal proceedings around FTX that will drag on for a very long time. This means that anything that is said by anyone who is even tangentially involved is at risk of being scrutinised and multiply interpreted by dozens of people, including people whose role (rightly) is to advocate for their clients or those they represent.

I share this concern that everyone will get much less information than they want, which conflicts especially wth the ideals that many EA organisations have of transparency, and integrity. 

Clawback laws can be far-reaching, and in recent cases lawyers (e.g., against Bernard Madoff) have managed to recover significant amounts of investors' money with sufficiently energetic application of these laws.

So, to give a concrete example, The Centre For Effective Altruism reportedly purchased Wytham Abbey - one of the most beautiful large estates of 2,500 acres in Britain - which was on the the market for £15m last year with Savill's last year. 


https://www.varenne.fr/files/91410477-f3e6-49a5-a40c-d501dd95550d/The Savills Portfolio.pdf

As well as being a little unclear about how any such a purchase is consistent with the Centre's altruistic principles in the first place, then if there is the slightest suggestion that any property leases or freehold transfers were funded with money obtained through fraud, it could be vulnerable to seizure.

My hope that is that the Centre For Effective Altruism could issue some information about their purchase of Wytham Abbey? 

Points to be covered might include:

  1. What, precisely, was purchased?
  2. What use is made of it by leaders of the EA movement, employees of CEA and chosen grant-holders?
  3. The justification for this investment, in terms of EA principles, and who signed off on this reasoning within CEA? 
  4. What was the source of the funding for the purchase, and what are CEA's plans are for the future use of the Wytham Abbey estate?

Perhaps all this information is available already, in which case I would very much appreciate it if someone could tell me where it is?

Attempting to frame this as MacAskill simply putting them in touch is fairly astonishing. From the texts alone:

MacAskill laid out monetary amounts for the offers of Bankman-Fried's investment in Twitter.

He’s worth $24B, and his early employees (with shared values) bump that to $30B. I asked about how much he could in principle contribute and he said: “~$1-3b would be easy ~3-8b I could do ~$8-15b is maybe possible but would require financing.

Then, when Musk explicitly asked if he would vouch for Sam Bankman-Fried. MacAskill vouched for him enthusiastically, linking explicitly to SBF's dedication to longtermism.

You vouch for him?

Very much so! Very dedicated to making the long-term future of humanity go well.

I do not understand how this can be characterised as just putting them in touch.

Many of the larger ambitions appear to rely on a common assumption: that at least the broad shape of consequences of actions are forseeable by this community, and forseeable on the time scale of centuries or longer.

Assuming its leaders are not complicit in the fraud, the community might reflect that they have been catastropically wrong on a time scale of weeks.