Owen_Cotton-Barratt

Comments

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

I didn't downvote (because as you say it's providing relevant information), but I did have a negative reaction to the comment. I think the generator of that negative reaction is roughly: the vibe of the comment seems more like a political attempt to close down the conversation than an attempt to cooperatively engage. I'm reminded of "missing moods";  it seems like there's a legitimate position of "it would be great to have time to hash this out but unfortunately we find it super time consuming so we're not going to", but it would naturally come with a mood of sadness that there wasn't time to get into things, whereas the mood here feels more like "why do we have to put up with you morons posting inaccurate critiques?". And perhaps that's a reasonable position, but it at least leaves a kind of bad taste.

"Good judgement" and its components

Yeah my quick guess is that (as for many complex skills) g is very helpful, but that it's very possible to be high g without being very good at the thing I'm pointing at (partially because feedback loops are poor, so people haven't necessarily has a good training signal for improving).

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

I guess I significantly agree with all of the above, and I do think it would have been reasonable for me to mention these considerations.  But since I think the considerations tend to blunt rather than solve the issues, and since I think the audience for my post will mostly be well aware of these considerations,  it still feels fine to me to have omitted mention of them? (I mean, I'm glad that they've come up in the comments.)

I guess I'm unsure whether there's an interesting disagreement here. 

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

Yeah, I totally agree that if you're much more sophisticated than your (potential) donors you want to do this kind of analysis. I don't think that applies in the case of what I was gesturing at with "~community projects", which is where I was making the case for implicit impact markets.

Assuming that the buyers in the market are sophisticated:

  1. in the straws case, they might say "we'll pay $6 for this output" and the straw org might think "$6 is nowhere close to covering our operating costs of $82,000” and close down
  2. I think too much work is being done by your assumption that the cost effectiveness can't be increased. In an ideal world, the market could create competition which drives both orgs to look for efficiency improvements
Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

This kind of externality should be accounted for by the market (although it might be that the modelling effectively happens in a distributed way rather than anyone thinking about it all).

So you might get VCs who become expert in judging when early-stage projects are a good bet. Then people thinking of starting projects can somewhat outsource the question to the VCs by asking "could we get funding for this?"

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

Moral trade is definitely relevant here. Moral trade basically deals with cases with fundamental-differences-in-values (as opposed to coordination issues from differences in available information etc.).

I haven't thought about this super carefully, but it seems like a nice property of impact markets is that they'll manage to simultaneously manage the moral trade issues and the coordination issues. Like in the example of donors wishing to play donor-of-last-resort it's ambiguous whether this desire is driven by irreconcilably different values or different empirical judgements about what's good.

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

I agree that these considerations would blunt the coordination issues some.

So I think that a proposal for "Implicit impact markets without infrastructure" should probably include as one element a reminder for people to take these considerations into account. 

I guess I think that it should include that kind of reminder if it's particularly important to account for these things under an implicit impact markets set-up. But I don't think that; I think they're important to pay attention to all of the time, and I'm not in the business (in writing this post) of providing reminders about everything that's important.

In fact I think it's probably slightly less important to take them into account if you have (implicit or explicit) impact markets, since the markets would relieve some of the edge that it's otherwise so helpful to blunt via these considerations.

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

Yeah, Shapley values are a particular instantiation of a way that you might think the implicit credit split would shake out. There are some theoretical arguments in favour of Shapley values, but I don't think the case is clear-cut. However in practice they're not going to be something we can calculate on-the-nose, so they're probably more helpful as a concept to gesture with.

Forget replaceability? (for ~community projects)

Of course "non-EA funding" will vary a lot in its counterfactual value. But roughly speaking I think that if you are pulling in money from places where it wouldn't have been so good, then on the implicit impact markets story you should get a fraction of the credit for that fundraising. Whether or not that's worth pursuing will vary case-to-case.

Basically I agree with Michael that it's worth considering but not always worth doing. Another way of looking at what's happening is that starting a project which might appeal to other donors creates a non-transferrable fundraising opportunity. Such opportunities should be evaluated, and sometimes pursued.

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