Jay Bailey

Jay is a software engineer from Brisbane, Australia who is pursuing early retirement through financial independence. He expects to reach this around 2025, and will then need a more pro-social cause to devote the rest of his life to. He prefers to focus on more concrete problems that are easily measured, and as such his current top choice is extreme global poverty. He is a signatory of the Giving What We Can pledge.


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How useful is it to help a large number of ineffective charities?

How to even approach this calculation?


The way I would probably approach the calculation is this:

- Roughly how effective is the average charity compared to GiveWell's top charities? 10%? 1%? 
- What is the mean annual revenue of these charities? (Mean, not median, remember the power law)
- How many charities do I expect to be able to help with this?
- How much more effective do I think I can make them?

I'm not sure how to find out the answers, but that would be a way to approach it. Since the questions are difficult, it might be good to have three calculations - optimistic, average, and pessimistic for plugging in the variables.

Open Thread: Winter 2021

Fair enough. I've edited it to remove the quotation marks.

Open Thread: Winter 2021

I still don't think you're wrong. Will is correct when he says that it is more likely someone with a BMI of 25 or lower is actually overweight than someone with a BMI of 25 or higher is just well-muscled, but that isn't the same as estimating by eye.

The point, as I understand it, is that if you live in a country where most people are overweight, your understanding of what "overweight" is will naturally be skewed. If the average person in your home country has a BMI of 25-30, you'll see that subconsciously as normal, and therefore you could see plenty of mildly overweight people and not think they were overweight at all - only people at even higher BMI's would be identifiable as overweight to you.

Open Thread: October 2021

The barrier to action is definitely a big thing. When I was a student, I avoided donating money. I told myself I'd start donating when I got a job and started making good money. Then, when I did get a job, I procrastinated for another two years. 

The thing that convinced me to finally do it was joining a different online group where I tried to do a good deed every day. When I got that down, I got into the habit of doing good, which made me rethink EA. After some thought, I committed to try giving 10% just for a year. A month later, I made the Giving What We Can pledge. After I'd made the commitment I realised it wasn't that hard, and I felt a lot better about myself afterwards.

If I could go back in time, I think what I'd ask my past self to do is not to commit to donating 10%, but to commit to donating just 1%  for a year. 1% is nothing, and anyone can do that - but once you start intuitively understanding that A) You feel better donating this money, and B) You really don't miss it, it's a lot easier to scale up. Going from 0 to 1 is a bigger step than from 1 to 10.

I still don't have a full solution, but I think that might be a place to begin.

Open Thread: August 2021

Hi everyone. My name is Jay, and I'm a software engineer from Brisbane, Australia. My current goal is to become financially independent so I can devote the rest of my life to whatever cause I deem most worthy without needing to worry about earning a living. I expect to reach this point around 2025. I've joined the EA Forum because I want to spend some time in the next few years examining different causes, learning about the EA movement,  and figuring out how I can scale my efforts to make a big impact in retirement. 

I prefer to focus on concrete problems that are very scalable, and that one can easily contribute to in a small but meaningful way. Thus, the best option I've found so far is focusing on extreme global poverty. I also don't want to fall in the trap of always telling myself I'll do good later and never getting around to it, so in February of this year, I finally signed the Giving What We Can pledge.