Jack Malde


I am working as an economist and previously worked in management consulting.

I am interested in longtermism, global priorities research and animal welfare. Check out my blog The Ethical Economist.

Please get in touch if you would like to have a chat sometime.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.


What do you mean by "fair" in this context?

If we adopt some sort of meritocratic system based on knowledge/ability (which many would see as "fair") I don't think this would lead to very diverse hiring. I think it would lead to the hiring we currently see and which OP doesn't like.

I tentatively think the only way to get diversity is to select for diversity. Diversity does have some instrumental benefit so not saying we shouldn't do this, at least to some extent.

How much drama/scandal has there actually been in EA beyond FTX (admittedly a huge scandal) and now Bostrom (in my opinion something that doesn't need to be given all that much oxygen)?

Serious question.

I think just picking 1 or 2 conflicts with wanting to "pick a single option that works somewhat well under multiple moral views that I have credence in".

Ah right. Yeah I'm not really sure I should have worded it that way. I meant that as a sort of heuristic one can use to choose a preferred option under normative uncertainty using an MEC approach.

For example I tend to like AI alignment work because it seems very robust to moral views I have some non-negligible credence in (totalism, person-affecting views, symmetric views, suffering-focused views and more). So using an MEC approach, AI alignment work will score very well indeed for me. Something like reducing extinction risk from engineered pathogens scores less well for me under MEC because it (arguably) only scores very well on one of those moral views (totalism). So I'd rather give my full philanthropic budget to AI alignment rather than give any to risks from engineered pathogens. (EDIT: I realise this means there may be better giving opportunities for me than giving to LTFF which will give across different longtermist approaches)

So "pick a single option that works somewhat well under multiple moral views that I have credence in" is a heuristic, and admittedly not a good one given that one can think up a large number of counterexamples e.g. when things get a bit fanatical.

Marginal returns do probably pretty quickly diminish for most grantees of the LTFF, contrary to the post's assumptions.

Yeah this is a relevant point to me.

Picking just option 1 or just option 2 means causing net harm on either A or B

It isn't obvious to me this is relevant. In your example I suspect I would be indifferent between putting everything towards option 1, putting everything towards option 2, or any mix between the two.

  1. due to normative uncertainty (including moral uncertainty, uncertainty about decision theory, and, in my view, uncertainty about which (precise) theory of consciousness is correct),

If I want to deal with my normative uncertainty in the same way as my empirical uncertainty (so by maximising expected choiceworthiness) then I suppose my anti-diversification argument above still holds? My instinct under normative uncertainty is to pick a single option that works somewhat well under multiple moral views that I have credence in, rather than pick multiple options.

Other points seem fair, although don't really convince me for my personal giving. In practice I just give everything to the LTFF.

Also, stochastic dominance doesn't mean you can never make any difference-making risk averse decisions; it just means you should rule out stochastically dominated options first.

It was more that DMRA preferences can lead to choosing a stochastically-dominated choice, which then reduces my confidence in holding the DMRA preferences in the first place. 

Thanks! Yeah I wasn't too sure about the title. In hindsight adding the word philanthropic would have been good, which i've now done.

Thanks for sharing Holly! Agreed on all of that.

Yeah these reasons make some sense, but they don't seem to acknowledge the points I made in my original post that there's always a very real risk of not selling the home and therefore not donating proceeds to charity. It just seems safer to me from a donor's perspective to keep your money as money (that is invested).

Why would buying a home potentially increase your charitable giving budget?

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