Jeff A

Economics Undergraduate and local journalist
Pursuing an undergraduate degree
16Hudson County, NJ, USAJoined Aug 2022

Bio

Participation
2

 Peruvian-American raised and residing in Hudson County, NJ. I live right across Manhattan so you might have seen me at EA-NYC events. 

Undergraduate in Economics and minoring in mathematics at Rutgers University-Newark.  Associate in Arts Cum Laude in Liberal Arts '22 from my local community college, where I focused on economics and mathematics.

My career interests are global health, global poverty, biosecurity, and nuclear security. I would ideally like to intern at a think tank focused on international affairs (Council On Foreign Relations, CSIS), government (e.g., my Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, Department o State, USAID, United Nations), and academia doing economic research.

I first heard about EA through the Peter Singer TED Talk on YouTube and gradually went down the EA rabbit hole during quarantine in 2020. I kind of fell off and would donate 10% of my paychecks here and there until Sam Harris interviewed Toby Ord and got me thinking about dedicating my career and education to EA cause areas.

Some personal non-EA things about me: I love to play and watch football (I'm sorry, soccer),  penny board around NYC and my neighborhood, try cooking some new vegan dishes, and read books.

How others can help me

EA internships and fellowships in economics, government, think tanks,  and research. Also, some scholarships I should apply for to help pay for college would be greatly appreciated.

How I can help others

Make you laugh and be a friend. =D Also, I can offer advice from the knowledge I've gained from articles, podcasts, and talking to professionals in my EA areas of interest.

Comments
27

Hey Tyler, I love this post! It felt intuitive to me that when people are in legal issues, it’s in their and those indirectly and indirectly involved best interests to not speak too much on the matter under investigation. But I am noticing many EAs are frustrated and at times demanding EA public figures and leaders to give more information.

This post is a necessary legal explanation for a lack of direct and continuous information during the current FTX affairs. As someone with no legal background, I really appreciated how you avoided to use legal jargon.

You said, “ Some people are saying this is no surprise, as all of crypto was a Ponzi scheme from the start.” if you’re willing enough to post other people’s opinions, then you agree with it to an extent.

And then you further try to support this connotation of crypto and Ponzi scheme by saying “some Ponzi schemes have been operated there I’m sure.”

As stated earlier, I’m not taking sides on if crypto is a net good or net bad, but let’s be honest and straightforward on our said statements. And not try to redefine our noted statements to save face.

Fair point. I understand OP’s post was more of a vent (mine coming soon), but he should’ve expanded more of his reason and evidence for calling blockchain a “Ponzi scheme.”

(Side note: By no means am I a one of these “crypto bros.” I have as little money invested in it as you’d expect any other average Hispanic son of immigrants and recent community college graduate would. I’d say I’m neutral when it comes to crypto.)

Interesting guests! I look forward to listening to some of these interviews!


However, "I think there's a real gap in the EA media-verse on the intersection of left-wing politics and EA." is somewhat untrue. After all, EA has made headlines in many left-wing media such as Vox, the New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Yorker, etc. The vast majority of EAs I've met are politically on the left. But I do hope this podcast could help get more people, who happen to be leftists, into EA.

Although I hate labels, I consider myself left of center on the political spectrum but would be very interested if someone had a similar podcast platform but for conservatives and libertarian EAs. Some of the most interesting EAs I've met happen to be libertarians. I'm all for diversity of thought in good faith.
 

I'm so happy to see the EA community trying to increase la comunidad de EA para mi gente en Latino America! 

However, a common criticism of EAs and the EA community seems to be showing up again. In the New Yorker piece on William MacAskill and EA, one of the criticisms was that EAs, like Sam Bankman-Fried, will live in luxurious areas (the Bahamas) and houses.

I recall a fellow EA telling me how when he temporarily lived in Peru, the country where my parents are from and I hold citizenship and share a strong culture, he lived in Mira Flores, an upper echelon of the capital where the wealthy and most fortunate reside.

I hope EAs in the fellowship err away from living in the aristocratic communities and instead try to live among the common, working-class (or middle-class) citizens of Mexico. Especially, if you plan on addressing issues in Mexico that affect the people.

 

 Best of look on this fellowship! ¡Mucha suerte en los proyectos, hermanos y hermanas!

Hey Geoffrey, looking back at it, I can see why this appears partisan even though that was not my intention. My post was not meant to demonize my compatriots who happen to vote Republican or identify as conservative. It was meant to educate and bring awareness to an EA cause area, protecting liberal democracy. 

According to the 80k hyperlink I included in my post, it is a pressing issue. This is a large-scale issue as the United States is arguably the most influential geopolitical power in the world and has cultural and political influence around the globe on ensuring or protecting liberal democracies. (I'm not taking a side on whether US intervention in bringing liberal democracies is a net good or net bad, but history and the present (Ukraine) have shown how impactful U.S. involvement can be.)

I definitely could've used a better term than "Donald Trump supporters" in my first paragraph as not all of his supporters want to commit election fraud.

However, facts are facts. Regardless of someone's politics, acknowledging the undermining of liberal democracy is necessary, especially when there are such detrimental consequences.

I appreciate your constructive criticism and will take it into account in future posts and edit this post to make it seem less partisan.

Hey Dony, looking back at it, I can see why this appears partisan even though that was not my intention. My post was not meant to demonize my compatriots who happen to vote Republican or identify as conservative. It was meant to educate and bring awareness to an EA cause area.

I definitely could've used a better term than "Donald Trump supporters" in my first paragraph as not all of his supporters want to commit election fraud.

However, facts are facts. Regardless of someone's politics, acknowledging the undermining of liberal democracy is necessary, especially when there are such detrimental consequences.

As I said, protecting liberal democracy isn't one of my main interests or expertise so I don't have the background to do a specific theory of change with an expected value calculation.

I appreciate the feedback and will learn from this post.

Yeah. I like your analogy of EA and Quakers being a minority, but hopefully, EA can make an ethical revolution as the Quakers did with the abolition of slavery. We can certainly learn some tactics and habits from them while simultaneously not believing in their faith. 

If someone is interested in looking more into this, I remember Willam MacAskill wrote about Quakers and their impact on the abolition movement in "What We Owe the Future."

I think a great way to prevent us from turning into a cult is listening to criticism and have a diversity and opinions.

I would say EAs for the most part are open to criticism but there are EAs who will unintentionally partake in fallacious reasoning when their EA cause or EA opinion is attacked.

MacAskill once said EAs for the most part are social liberals. This is understandable considering most EAs come from fortunate backgrounds and have a college education.

Matt Yglesias and Tyler Cowen noted in their fireside chats at EA Global that their is a sense of homogeneity and a common group. Tyler Cowen said most EAs are “coastal elites.” I wouldn’t use the term coastal, but most EAs definitely come from elite families, elite colleges, elite company, or some other form of elite group.

There’s nothing wrong with being a social liberal (I am one), college educated, wealthy, or elite, but it could create an echo chamber and result in a cult or something cult-like.

I would like to see more libertarians, conservatives, and non-elites in EA so we can get different viewpoints, critiques, and a diversity of thought.

I love this post. I’m a secular atheist and am strongly influenced by the New Atheism movement, but even I must admit there are habits and customs we can learn from religions and religious communities that can be beneficial if we apply it to ourselves and our communities.

Some of the acts Tyler Cowen recommended was abstaining from alcohol, being co-dependent on others (if I recall that correctly), having many children, and building private social safety nets.

(I’m just listing what Cowen said and am not saying I agree or disagree with them all).

I’ve been trying to find this book which talks about the importance of ritual for secular people (I think the author was a secular atheist too). Lmk if anyone knows the name of the book I’m talking about.

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