Luke Eure

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Snowball Fund - A Low-Cost, Low-Risk, and High-Upside Experiment

Love this idea! Excited to see this go into action. If the fund gets high returns I think it would be great to have a large pool of funds under control of a broader base of EAs (assuming a lot of EAs contribute to the fund). And I think the brand building getting EA in direct contact with early stage entrepreneurs (and in front of the eyeballs of everyone reading eg TechCrunch and seeing EA Snowball fund listed as a funder) could be powerful.

Biggest concern in my mind is that this becomes a low tier VC - establishing it as a “premium” brand that founders want to have as a funder would be critical I think, so that the EA founders don’t just say “we’ll I’d rather just get an extra 100k from my existing funders and not have to deal with this Snowball fund”

For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical?

Ah the elasticities is a good point! And the suffering of the smaller fish is also important. 

 

Elasticities is super interesting because something else I was considering was "would I be willing to work for a company like this". The elasticity is relevant in a pretty different way when I'm asking "should I eat this fish" vs. "should I work to expand the reach of this company that I think on balance treats fish well." There could be a scenario where I'm willing to work for the company but still not eat fish (that world is not this world though - I'm not convinced they treat fish that well)

For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical?

Yeah this uncertainty with regards to fish experience makes this really hard. I suppose this raises the bar in terms of what I would need to eat fish. We need to understand fish welfare better (for a given species) before we can confidently mitigate harm, likely erring on the side of not promoting fish farming until we’re confident we understand fish welfare for the given species of fish.

For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical?

Thanks for sharing! I haven't heard many (any?) people express this view so good to hear!

For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical?

Nope, nothing unique to fish! I think it's also useful to think about this for other decisions, such as not eating beef, or not buying clothes made with child labor. I'm just most interested in fish specifically, because I've had a hard time finding as much discussion on fish farming vs other types of meat

Thanks for the SSC post - I'll check it out!

College Public Service Pipeline

Very clear, thank you! Out of curiosity, what type of achievable and potentially-leading-to-high-impact roles are you going to try to push people towards? If you have stuff online somewhere I can look at that so you don't have to type out an answer.

 

Best of luck with this!

Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today

 Very late response, thank you for catching this!

As GiveWell says in their post, "Because money is fungible, many gifts will effectively take the place of money that Open Philanthropy would have granted this year." If the result of me giving $1 is that the same amount of money goes to a top charity, and Open Phil gets to keep $1 extra, then Givewell hasn't disbursed the marginal dollar I've donated - they've rolled it over.

Disclosure I still did donate the same amount to GiveWell last year as I otherwise would have - this did just make me consider other options more than I had in previous year.

College Public Service Pipeline

This sounds great! I don't have any solutions, but a related issue I wonder about (as someone who went into consulting after undergrad): Does public service have the same or similar learning opportunities and exit opportunities as finance consulting? Being EA-minded in college, I did not perceive public service as having either of these strongly. So this is either a strike against people in public service, or a matter of bad marketing

Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today

"I assume that the crux here is that GiveDirectly believes that spending more money now would have a good publicity effect, that would promote philanthropy and raise the total amount of donations overall.
I would change my mind if this was the case, but I don't see this as obvious."

 

I'm not entirely sure what the answer is here either, but one thought I had today was "I should make a Facebook post for Thanksgiving/Christmas telling my friends why I think it's so important to donate to GiveWell - your marginal donation can save a life for $3-5k! Ah, but actually GiveWell won't disburse the marginal dollar I donate this year, so I can't really make that argument this year."

 

I do think from an optics perspective, when the draw from GiveWell is that your marginal dollar will actually help save someone's life, it's discouraging to see "you're marginal dollar will help save someone's life - in 3 years when we no longer need to roll over funds". It pushes me in the direction of "well I'll donate somewhere else this year and then donate to GiveWell in 3 years". And I know that's not the right calculation from a utility perspective - I should donate to the most cost-effective charity with little-to-no time discounting. But most people outside EA who might be attracted to effective giving have a yearly giving budget that they want to see deployed effectively in the near-term.

Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today

I'm not GiveDirectly, but in my view. It does make sense for GiveWell to deprioritise doing a more in-depth evaluation of GiveDirectly given resource constraints. However, when GiveWell repeatedly says in current research that certain interventions are or "5-8x cash", I think it would be helpful for them to make it more clear that it might be only "2-4x cash" - they just haven't had the time to re-evaluate the cash

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