15471 karmaJoined Working (15+ years)


I am an attorney in a public-sector position not associated with EA, although I cannot provide legal advice to anyone. My involvement with EA so far has been mostly limited so far to writing checks to GiveWell and other effective charities in the Global Health space, as well as some independent reading. I have occasionally read the forum and was looking for ideas for year-end giving when the whole FTX business exploded . . . 

How I can help others

As someone who isn't deep in EA culture (at least at the time of writing), I may be able to offer a perspective on how the broader group of people with sympathies toward EA ideas might react to certain things. I'll probably make some errors that would be obvious to other people, but sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help bring a different perspective.


Sorted by New
· · 1m read


Topic contributions

It's hard to figure out the discount (or premium) rate for GiveDirectly vis-a-vis an advertiser here. I agree that the demographic mix would likely warrant a reduction in value. On the other hand, there's at least some selection for interest in philanthropy based on the user clicking on the video (and it having only a fraction of the views of an average Mr. Beast video). Moreover, GiveDirectly is getting something that seems much more valuable: an extended favorable presentation from a source who is trusted by his viewers. The advertiser is getting 6-20 seconds on a non-skippable ad -- and viewers may have some level of default skepticism toward advertisements.

Unclear -- revenue per view varies widely but 2 cents per view seems in the ballpark for YouTube general content. Close enough for a BOTEC at least. This video has 20M views, so an estimated $400K in ad revenue. There's also a sponsor, revenue unknown.

It's unclear how much the exposure to 20M viewers is worth for GiveDirectly, but my guesses would be within an OOM of the ad/sponsor revenue. Rationale: given that YouTube takes about half of ad revenue in general, the advertiser seems to valued reaching the average YouTube watcher at ~4 cents, and the video can be seen as akin to an extended-length promoted ad and so is probably worth several times that.

Depends on the subsection, at least in the US. 501(c)(3) organizations are fairly limited on political activity. While 501(c)(4) organizations are less constrained, one does not get a tax break from donating to them. So you'll see some 501(c)(3)s have an associated 501(c)(4) organization.

Relatedly, how does one guard against the risk of viewers feeling good about themselves for watching / feeling they did their part by watching a video?  If the viewer walks away from the video feeling like that, and takes no action, they may be less likely to do something actually meaningful because they feel they "did their part" by becoming educated / causing a few cents to go to Beast Philanthropy's work. Thus there is at least some possibility that watching the video was net negative!


In my mind, there are structural features that make this very difficult for EA in particular to do. The major font of money is a well-known Democratic donor, and the EA movement is predominately left-of-center. Almost any attempt at combatting polarization is going to come across like a operation on behalf of Team Blue, rightly or wrongly. For example, taking money from Open Phil would be the kiss of death for any potential "sincere populist leadership in the Republican apparatus" who actually wanted to gain influence in conservative circles. The only way I see offhand around this is to plow lots of money in advance into an organization controlled by a group of people proportionally representing the U.S. political spectrum -- which means some people you really don't like.[1]

Moreover, I don't get a non-partisan feel from the proposal as currently written. Reforming the Senate would take power away from rural voters and Team Red; what are you planning to offer them in exchange? What are you expecting Team Blue to give up in the interests of depolarization, and how would you go about that? "Depolarization" can't have the effect of moving the country leftward, or it isn't going to be effective in places you need it to be effective. 

Finally, I get the sense that some of this would require a serious revamp of First Amendment doctrine. Some recent doctrine is controversial (e.g., Citizens United), but attempts to regulate media content are generally going to be found unconstitutional based on broadly respected doctrines going back decades. You can't even stop newspapers from publishing leaked highly classified information, for instance. There are certain people who want their hyperpolarized news, and there are people with ideological reasons to produce it (on top of economic reasons). The market abhors a vacuum, so those consumers will gravitate to those news sources. For example, the threat to Fox News appears to be to the right -- when it started pulling back due to its massive libel exposure in 2020, people starting shifting to more polarizing news sources like Newsmax and OAN.

  1. ^

    No matter what your political views, you won't like some of the people. The range would probably need to be at least 10th to 90th percentile, and few people approve of both the 10th and 90th percentile political view in the US.

Yes, at some moral weights, it would be very hard to recommend ~any global-health charities, and perhaps any GCR ones. We don't know how much incidental effect on meat consumption the OP is willing to accept. So I wouldn't rule out the possibility that the answer to her question is ~none.

All of those cause many (if not most) of their effects through giving people money directly or through positive impact on earnings. So it would seem they are not particularly good fits for Avila's question.

How do you factor in the possibility that family planning = smaller families & greater family economic resources = more meat consumption in that family?

Depression and other mental-health conditions often have a significant impact on productivity and income, though. This suggests that programs that alleviate them may have a significant effect on income (and thus meat consumption).

While I generally do not weigh the meat-eater problem much in evaluating global health charities, I think the indirect income-promoting effect would be of concern to some people.

Answer by Jason2

I haven't seen explicit cost-effectiveness analyses, but hospice programs for the terminally ill in low-income countries aren't designed to save human lives or increase income. I suppose they might have a small, incidental life-prolonging effect.

Load more