ruth_schlenker

Studying social science @ Brown University | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-schlenker/

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A Case and Model for Aggressively Funding Effective Charities

I am more and more concerned with the neoliberal and undemocratic decision-making processes I constantly see being endorsed in EA. Sure, nonprofits are efficient in allocating funds in the short term, especially when they rely on singular billionaire donors as the author correctly notes. But a true longtermist perspective would focus more on government infrastructure development so that we don't have to rely on individual billionaires to get anything done. In fact, because of EA's commitment to intellectual humility in the decision-making process, we out to try to preclude individuals who happen to be wealthy from having unchecked power to change social systems. The author correctly asserts that a single-donor model allows for coordinated conservative propaganda efforts, but instead of interrogating how to change these systems that likely cause a lot of suffering when in the wrong hands (such as the Koch brothers to use an example from another comment), just says that we as EAs should try to do the same thing. This is an uphill battle because inordinately wealthy individuals are less likely to endorse EA principles since more often than not they got their wealth through exploitation. EA in general should be much more public-policy focused rather than non-profit focused if its goal is truly long-term sustainability, because the truth is that the philanthropic efforts of wealthy donors disincentivize  states from developing sustainable social policy. It's disappointing that longtermism in EA seems to only be endorsed when talking about existential risk and not when talking about large scale social changes like antipoverty efforts (in my opinion, governmental stability/efficiency in terms of resource allocation is undervalued in the context of existential risk reduction anyway).