I liked this post. It was thought provoking.
I just wanted to note that you are correct in highlighting the “human” part in my post on the capability approach. To me, capabilities are the best way to think about human welfare but some variant of utilitarianism is the best way to think about the welfare of (most?) animals, but I’ve no good way to exchange between those and I find that unsatisfying.
I like this idea in the abstract.
One implementation detail that I worry about is how much friction would exist in the micro-transaction. For example, if I do this on my iPhone would it just go <ching> and then make the donation, or would it then pop up a little screen saying "pick your method of payment, then I double press the side button for apple pay, then it scans my face and I wait a beat". I think it has to be the latter given iOS platform constraints (to stop scammers from just taking people's money), but I think that might greatly reduce the "fun, friction-free" thing that I see as the draw here.
Yeah, good points. You may well be right.
I think point 2 is highly questionable though. Just from an information aggregation POV, it seems like we should want key public goods providers to be open to all ideas and to do rather little to filter or privilege some ideas. For example, the forum should not elevate posts on animals or poverty or AI or whatever (and they don't). I've been upset with 80k for this.
I think HLI provides a good example of how this should be done. If you want to push EA in a direction, do that as a spoke and try to sway people to your spoke. "Capturing" a central hub is not how this should be done. I think having a norm against this would be helpful.
That said, I also unfortunately do not think the market metaphor is going to be convincing to people. I think concerns around monocultures and group-think might be more persuasive, but again I don't have very well-formed thoughts here. But I do think that if the goal of EA is to do the most good and we think there might be a cause x out there or we aren't confident that we have the right mix of resources across cause areas, then there is real value in having a norm where central public goods providers do not strongly advocate for specific causes.
Re: what goes wrong with the market metaphor: I mostly just think it raises all sorts of questions about whether or not the relevant assumptions hold to model this like an efficient market. Even if the answer is yes (and I'm skeptical), I think the fact that it pushes my (and seemingly other people's) thoughts there isn't idea. It feels like a distraction from the core issue you're pointing to.
I think this is probably better framed as a governance problem. I think you're asking institutions that provide public goods to the "spokes" or EA to not pick favourites and to be responsive to the community. I think that point can be made well without reference to an EA market or perfect competition. I prefer the phrasing in 1-2-3 in your reply.
If people care maybe I can look I to this more seriously and write up something longer, but I find it quite unlikely that their claim is correct. I think many of your numbered points are likely correct, but I bet 3 is significant. CEA is tough to do well, and easy to shape.
That said, wasting really is a serious concern and might be quite cheap to treat so if UNICEF was going to be highly cost-effective it might be here.
Thank you for this Michael. I don't think I agree with the market metaphor, but I do think that EA is "letting this crisis go to waste" and that that is unfortunate. I'm glad you're drawing attention to it.
My thoughts are not well-formed, but I agree that the current setup—while it makes sense historically—is not well suited for the present. Like you, I think that it would be beneficial to have more of a separation between object-level organizations focusing on specific cause areas and central organizations that are basically public goods providers for object-level organizations. This will inevitably get complicated on the margins (e.g. central orgs would likely also focus on movement building and that will inevitably involve some opinionated choices re: cause areas), but I think that's less of an issue and still an improvement on the present.
This is really sad and shocking. His family, colleagues, and students have my sincere condolences.
For people that didn't know him, one thing that stood out about him was his extreme generosity in helping students and junior colleagues. If you want to read some of their small tributes, the replies and quote tweets here are full of political scientists and others sharing stories. He will be deeply missed.
I think this is an excellent idea. As others have noted, I think there is alpha in reaching new people without any EA branding and pitching helping distant others to them. Doing the basics well. Also, seeing your webpage made me realize how much I've lowered my standards on design for a lot of EA content. It's quite nice.
My main (small) criticism is that I was confused by the name. I think you should more clearly explain it. I kept imagining black pepper, not a chili pepper. Maybe there is a way to incorporate the image of a hot pepper somewhere? It didn't feel bad, exactly, but random and odd.
That makes some sense to me. She should have an easier time of this (than Sen-ish people like me) because she’s willing to just write a list of the eg 10 most important capabilities for humans. If you’re willing to do that, then it almost seems easier to do it for animals. I’ll listen to the podcast and should read the book. Thanks for the pointer.