Max Pietsch

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We should be donating more frequently so we're happier and feel more encouraged to donate

We know we get some happiness and fulfillment from donating money to a cause we care about (for instance see If we could get even more joy from donating the same amount of money, then it would make us more happy (benefitting ourselves) and encourage us to keep giving more (benefitting others). 

To me, there's a huge difference between donating $10,000 at once to a single charity and donating $100 one hundred times to different charities. Sort of like how our brains aren't great at telling the difference between saving 1,000,000 lives and 10,000,000 lives, even though they are hugely different, is there research saying that the number of times we donate is more conducive to our brains remembering the feeling of happiness, than the amount we donate each time? I think if there is this kind of research then more people should be talking about it, because it could make a big difference for people who are earning to give.

I remember reading about a charity which is trying to change the way science is done. Something about science not being as focused on publication count, and scientists having more freedom to pursue what matters. I can't for the life of me remember the name. Do you know any charity like this, that's trying to change how science is conducted?

Are there enough EAs that we could form a voting block that has enough people to sway an election? Would you vote for a politician that we got together and decided is the best in order to advance the goals of human welfare, animal welfare, and longtermism?

I mean, it's a better path than copywriting. Is that the other choice? Yeah software engineering is not a bad choice.

Thanks. This is helpful.

I think you're right about engaging them. I could ask them a modified version of the trolley problem like, "would you rather save 10 lives that aren't trans / diabetic / an elephant versus 1 life that is trans / diabetic / an elephant"? Then share a link to an article about how some charities are 10 or 100 times as effective as others, and another article about how cheap it is to save human or animal lives.

I've been concerned that my response would come across abrasive if I try to bring up being effective, but I think responding to them in the form of a question would help prevent that (like the trolley problem question about). (Honestly, I am frustrated with people choosing ineffective causes, but I want to tamper that down and not convey that.)

I don't think there is a strong base of rigorous evaluations...

Thanks. It helps to know that that info simply doesn't exist.

Oxfam or MSF instead of Save the Children or St. Judes Hospital. What would be the value of this... is it worth our effort? We don't know.

Makes sense.

I'd be curious to hear your answer to this question. I asked it as a separate question in case future visitors to the forum have this question - they can find it in the search results.

I've heard from someone that Open Phil-sponsored companies are now doing essentially what you suggest. If you look at for example Anthropic's job board you can see one of their benefits is, "Optional equity donation matching at a 3:1 ratio, up to 50% of your equity grant." By donating equity they avoid income taxes, and perhaps there are other tax implications of donating tax instead of cash (I'm not an expert).

Ok, got it. Yeah these particular questions I may have to ignore if I can't come up with better answers.

>Have you considered not spending time on those questions if you expect you can't find any good answers?

I'm not spending much time on them. I have to sort through the less-easy-to-answer questions in order to find the more-easy-to-answer ones. I am spending time on the overall project, but you would make a false assumption if you extrapolate these to all of the other questions I'm seeing. I'm posting about these specifically because they are less easy to answer. The easy-to-answer questions I'm not asking for advice on because I can already generate a good answer.

Is the overall project work worth the time? It's hard for any of us to answer that question about our work. I am currently trying to collect some data on how much my responses have changed people's minds, but it takes work to find that out.

>this... comes off... as a little bit coercive.

There's always a balance between being pushy and not saying enough when giving advice. It feels appropriate that I'm giving people advice on topics which they've asked for advice on. I wrote "steer... towards" which is something you might associate with a manager or captain who is directing people. Perhaps the words, "let them know" would have been more apt. What I'm doing is more giving information than making the decision for people.

I personally would want them to factor the problem of social bubbles into their model and figure out some way of preventing that while still building up 'trust points'.

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