67 karmaJoined Aug 2018


Yes, the old adage: "I don't have time to write short texts."

Thank you for your replies.

[Warning: musings ahead.]

Re your reply on 2, I found it interesting that overall you seem focused on working with *insiders8 --- people already quite involved and invested in the political system --- rather than aiming for uptake in the population at large, and then to use that as leverage on politicians (which is what I had been musing about when thinking about how to cause political change). I wonder whether there's data on the effectiveness on the two different approaches. Most likely it's too dependent on context and question.

This was a really good, clear write-up; I found it very interesting. Thank you.

I have a couple of questions. If you want to reply by just telling me to read the full write-up: fair enough.

  1. There seems to be some potential overlap between A, B, and D. Could the Future Commission, or the Ombudsman, be used for oversight on other parliamentary committees, i.e. that part of their remit be to check that other committees discharged their responsibility to take future generations into account?

  2. Do you have thoughts on how you would go about pushing for a Future Commission?

  3. Do you think there'd be value to do some opinion polling on support for a Future Commission, and an Ombudsman?

Evan, thank you for these comments here. I just wanted to register, in case it's at all useful, that I find it a bit difficult to understand your posts sometimes. It struck me that shorter and simpler sentences would probably make this easier for me. But I may be totally ideosyncratic here (English isn't my first language), so do ignore this if it doesn't strike you as useful.

One may be able to have counterfactual impact by accepting below market returns

I think this is an important possibility. Some invested funds cannot be turned into donations, but there may be a chance of getting them invested in something with a social payoff.

I agree with this concern.

  • Even with some weighting for 'long-timers', 16x seems excessive.
  • The concern seems exacerbated by the idea of more active modeation
  • I'm not convinced that a forum being having diverse viewpoints already represented suffices to counteract this.
  • The distinction between modearting based on content and procedure ('good discussion') might be hard to uphold: disagreement on what constitutes a good argument is also important, for example.
  • The concern seems also exacerbated by a worry (which I tried to articulate elsewhere) of people established within the community possibly giving too much epistemic weight to someone being thus embedded.

Re the community fund: I find the decision to not review applications for new, small, projects both surprising and troubling.

  1. That established organisations which by the grant-maker's own assessment are not significantly funding constrained would make better marginal use of funds than a new organisation might seems very unlikely.

  2. It is also unlikely that donating to established organisations will do more to grow the movement than helping new organisations start up would.

  3. Echoing what has already been noted, the rationale given does not stand in a reasonable relation to the disbursement of more than half a million pounds. This even more so when one of the recepient organisations is so closely aligned with the grant maker. This is not at all an expression of distrust in the grant maker's intergrity; this is just obvious good governance.

  4. The rationale of lacking time to make the judgements does not stack up. First, a person who lacks the time to make obviously pertinent evaluations should not be in charge of the fund. Second, there are solutions, such as contracting people to invest the time required.

  5. Not unrelatedly (and apologies for not being able to articulate this super well) there appears to be a somewhat pervasive belief among some of those that are already well established within EA organisations that they're a lot better at making important decisions than outsiders would be. It's reflected in the grant maker's apparent reluctance to hand over management of the fund to someone else, in some comments in the discussion thread here (that put a lot of weight on how long someone's been involved, for example), and most explicitly in the belief that a new, small EA organisation would actually do net harm, by being "suboptimal representatives", or by not disappearing quickly enough for the grant maker's liking. This smacks of hubris to me.

(I feel like I've seen this a lot recently, and I think it's really worrying for the future health of the EA movement. One place is in this post, where the message can be glossed as: hey, for many important decisions, it's just not worth our while to explain to you all why we make them.)