John Bridge

Pronouns: he/him

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Contact me at: johnmichaelbridge[at]gmail[dot]com

Epistemic status: Uncertain and speculative. I try not to caveat my claims too much because it makes everything harder to read. If I've worded something too strongly, feel free to ask for clarification.


Towards a Worldwide, Wateright Windfall Clause

Topic Contributions


A retroactive grant for creating the HPMoR audiobook (Eneasz Brodski)?

I have no strong opinions on whether this is a good or a bad idea, all things considered. But:

  • I feel uneasy about retrofunding as an idea.
  • Retrofunding feels more like 'so-called philanthropists giving money to their pals' than 'high-impact EA philanthropy'.
  • Retrofunding also feels particularly bad for optics.

If you have an argument for why I should feel different, I'd appreciate if you explain the argument rather than downvoting.

New Sequence - Towards a worldwide, watertight Windfall Clause

Hi Will,

(1) Is a really good point. I will definitely consider this. A few thoughts right now:

Encouragingly, the position here in England for contractual damages comes from Hadley v Baxendale, where damages are given for all losses that 'were in the contemplation of both parties' at the time they contracted. Given the very nature of the agreement is that the Developer has to pay out a colossal sum if they reach a certain % of GDP/market cap, I'd assume that the Developer's future profits would be included here. That said, specific performance seems like a more satisfactory approach, because I'm sure the court would end up discounting the total sum. 

FWIW, HvB is an old case (1850s I believe), so I expect this same point will apply across most of the former Commonwealth.

(2) I hadn't considered this, but I will  look into it. My initial thoughts are that (a) the shareholders are unlikely to have assets worth >0.1% GDP, so this would be a clear example of bad faith (b) this could be a mark in favour of the stock options method, because it might allow the Counterparty to bring  an unfair prejudice or other derivative action against the Developer.

Thanks for highlighting both.

Where is the Social Justice in EA?

Strong upvote - this is a really great post and helped me understand the source of many disagreements between myself and my more social justice-oriented friends.

Companies with the most EAs and those with the biggest potential for new Workplace Groups

Sorry for the late comment, but I believe there are 40+ engaged EAs in the UK Civil Service, which is mostly based around Westminster. 

Did you leave them off because you are specifically looking at corporations?

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

So, your comment here:

’It doesn't predict that being a member of two "oppressed" classes can result in an intersectional "privilege".’

Is referring to the advantage that western Asian women receive on the dating scene. My point is that this is compatible with intersectionality theory, because although the general structure of the power relationships between men/women, majority/minority ethnic groups, and white people/Asians disadvantages western Asian women, none of these relationships are 100% downside.

So, the idea is that on balance the relationship is oppressive, rather than that the relationship is just 100% beneficial/harmful for either side.

Is that more clear?

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

I also don't think the prior should be 'people of all ethnicities feel the exact same set of charitable obligations' - that seems like a similarly strong claim. 

Still, in the absence of any good data to back up my claim or yours, I think it's appropriate to be very uncertain about any hypothesis we might have about why people do or don't give.

Thanks for improving my thinking on this.

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

I think you might have misunderstood the scope of this post. I want to emphasise that I endorse none of the following claims:

[a white person can never] understand or model the discrimination or pain faced by a (for example) queer, poor, Black and Muslim individual.

it’s pointless for a male to study female psychology because a male will never understand what it’s like to be female and should instead have no voice in the conversation

diversity and “equity” and “justice” [are] innate, disseminated values, rather than potential or circumstantial instrumental ones for prior lauded ends.

[EA] is somehow inherently in the wrong or discriminatory or evil for ending up mostly male, white, secular, tech based etc.

if your goal is to maximize diversity then you need intersectionality

you have to shame people for making assumptions or holding beliefs about those who are part of other [social] categories

If we remove these claims and just consider whether intersectionality would be a useful tool (of many different possible tools) for helping EAs think through difficult ideas, would this change your position at all?

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

That said, your comment has shifted me towards your perspective that intersectionality is unlikely to be useful for EAs, and it's better to start a new language game. I think the word comes with enough baggage that it is hard to use as a neutral tool for analysing issues, and is liable to be misunderstood. 

Thanks for helping to improve my thinking here.

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

it only predicts it when you are a member of a "privileged" class and an "oppressed" class*. It doesn't predict that being a member of two "oppressed" classes can result in an intersectional "privilege".


I think perhaps we mean different things when we use the words 'privilege' and 'oppression'. Under intersectionality theory, Group X is privileged in respect of Group Y if they are the beneficiaries of the power relationship, all things considered. Similarly, Group Y is oppressed if they are generally disadvantaged by that relationship. That doesn't mean that Group X benefits 100%, or that Group Y always suffers. 

To unpack that a bit, you might imagine the general structure of a male-female relationship in the early 1900s: Broadly-speaking, a woman born in 1900 would be disadvantaged compared to a man born in the same year. She was treated as subservient to her husband, she would be excluded from positions of power where men were not, and she was (in many countries) denied the vote. 

Men were the overall beneficiaries of this arrangement, essentially having a lifelong live-in servant and childcarer. However, women also benefitted from this relationship in some ways - a 1900s woman would never have been expected to go to war, and once her children had grown up she would not have been expected to work a job. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the power relationship between men and women in earliest 20th Century was a unequal one. This is the sense in which intersectionality theory would describe women as oppressed and men as privileged.

This logic then extends to intersectional disadvantages, meaning that the model doesn't break even if you get an intersectional 'privilege'[1]. Going back to Western Asian women, it seems to be true that Asian folks are treated as more 'feminine' than White folks. The feminisation of Western Asians might therefore benefit Asian women (who are 'hyperfeminised', and so get even more of the benefits which accrue to women) and disadvantage Asian men (who are emasculated, and so get fewer of the benefits which accrue to men).

  1. ^

    Given the definition of privilege I've just set out, 'privilege' is probably the wrong word for what's going on here, but you get my point.

What is Intersectionality Theory? What does it mean for EA?

Thanks for your message David. I think this probably depends on your definition of 'discrimination' - in SJ language, discrimination is typically something that happens at a systemic, rather than an individual level. That is to say, a set of policies that systematically disadvantage a particular group can still be discrimination if they reflect a prevailing system in which that group is disadvantaged. This can be true even if there is no bad intent on the part of individuals.

I think this broader definition is not always helpful, particularly because (a) it often fuels controversy to describe such policies as discriminatory, and (b) it is not always clear that any given policy is actually a part of a system of discrimination. That's why I've tried to use 'disadvantage' in most of the post, which is a less loaded term. Nonetheless, I feel it's the most appropriate term to use in the DeGraffenreid context, as the originators of Intersectionality Theory describe the case in terms of discrimination.

Is there a way you feel I could make this more clear?

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