Thank you for writing this Mitra, it's always valuable to hear critiques of current approaches in the EA community. As Peter noted above, your experiences and views would be greatly valued by the community.
I will attempt to respond to some of these questions, but note that my responses may not reflect the views of everyone in the community, and I may miss some crucial points.
Hopefully this didn't come across as dismissive, but I think it's worth giving due credit to GiveWell and other members of the EA community.
All the best,
Thanks for writing this Caroline, really interesting post! I think it's probably true that having talented people doing important things work really hard is higher impact than having people donate a little bit more money.
However, I am concerned about the idea that one should prioritize their impact over relationships with family, friends, romantic partners, or children, for two reasons:
I am unsure whether this means EAs shouldn't work 7-day weeks and de-prioritze relationships, but I don't think it's clear they should. Of course, this might work for some people but not others!
* I may be in a particularly priveledged position here, as I currently live with my parents and do not pay rent or have kids, but I suspect a high proportion of EAs would make a roughly similar conclusion.
Thanks for writing this up Rumtin and Krystal!
Does the scope of the project allow for engagment with academics as well as policy-makers/public servants? While there obvious risks with expanding the scope too broadly, I wonder whether collaboration with academia could be valuable for research efforts. There is also the possibility that some academic work (e.g. gain-of function research) could undermine policy efforts, so perhaps coordination between EA-aligned policy-makers/public servants and academics could reduce this risk?
Thanks for writing this up!
This post does resonate with me, as when I was first introduced to EA, I was sceptical about the idea of "discussing the best ways to do good". This was because I wanted to volunteer rather than just talk about doing good (this was before I realised how much more impact I could have with my career/donations) and I think I would’ve been even more deterred if I’d heard that donated funds were being spent on my dinners.
However, it sounds like my attitude might have been quite different to others, reading the comments here. Also, I suspect I would’ve ended up becoming involved in EA either way as long as I heard about the core ideas.
Thanks Nathan, that would make a lot of sense, and motivates the conversation about whether CEA can realisticly attract as many people through advertising as Goldman etc.
I guess the question is then whether:
a) Goldman's activities are actually effective at attracting students; and
b) This is a relevant baseline prior for the types of activities that local EA groups undertake with CEA's funding (e.g. dinners for EA scholars students)
Thanks for outlining your reasoning here, and I'm really excited about the progress EA groups are making around the world.
I could easily be missing something here, but why are we comparing the value of CEA's community building grants to the value of Mckinsey etc?
Isn't the relevant comparison CEA's community building grants vs other EA spending, for example GiveWell's marginally funded programs (around 5x the cost-effectiveness of cash transfers)?
If CEA is getting funding from non-EA sources, however, this query would be irrelevant.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts :)
Thanks Ren, that makes a lot of sense!
Really interesting and well-written post about the Australian political context! Do you think EA grant makers should consider funding political campaigns by minor parties, or would you prefer to see EA-aligned volunteers/staff leverage other sources of funds?
Thank you for raising some interesting concerns JP.
I just wanted to note that the value of a market for bednets may be small relative to the value of philanthropic funding for several reasons:
Thanks, these are really interesting and useful thoughts!