Sinclair Chen

Software Engineer @ Manifold Markets
146 karmaJoined Working (0-5 years)



How I can help others

web development, product design, and all things about startups and shipping fast


Isn't this true for the provision of any public non-excludable good? A faster road network, public science funding, or clean water benefit some people, firms, and industries more than others. And to the degree community-building resources can be discretized, ordinary market mechanics can distribute them, in which case they cease to be cause-general.

On the other side of the argument, consider that any substantial difference in QALY / $ implies that 
a QALY maximizer should favor giving $ to some causes over others, and this logic holds in general for [outcome you care about] / [resource you're able to allocate]. like if that resource is labor, attention, or eventspace-hours you rederive the issue laid out in the original post.

I wonder if GiveDirectly has so good results not (just) because cash transfers are transformative but because digital payments on cellphones are.

- Voluntary human challenge trials
- Run a real money prediction market for US citizens
- Random compliance stuff that startups don't always bother with: GDPR, purchased mailing lists, D&I training in california, ...

Here are some illegal (or gray-legal) things that I'd consider effectively altruistic though I predict no "EA" org will ever do:
- Produce medicine without a patent
- Pill-mill prescription-as-a-service for certain medications
- Embryo selection or human genome editing for intelligence
- Forge college degrees
- Sell organs
- Sex work earn-to-give
- Helping illegal immigration

A gripe I have with EA is that it is not radical enough. The american civil rights movement of 1950-1960s was very effective and altruistic, even though it's members were arrested, and it's leaders were wiretapped by the FBI and assassinated in suspicious ways. Or consider the stonewall riots.
More contemporarily, I think Uber is good for the world counterfactually. It's good that Nakamoto made bitcoin. It's good that Snowden leaked the NSA stuff. (probably, I'm less sure about the impact of these examples.)

Most crime is bad, and most altruistic crime is ineffective or counterproductive. But not all.

I think swapcard is pretty bad and it's better to just move off of it entirely. Manifest is trying to use discord + airtable's calendar. we'll see if it's better

If you don't patent an invention, someone else can instead. So you should definitely get it patented, if only to put a very open license on it.

Wow venues seem really expensive! It might be cheaper to acquire large tracts of real estate just for running large events. For instance Italy is giving away free castles to people willing to upkeep them and use them for some public, productive purpose.

Unfortunate. I find the author's first two sections weak but I find the third section about animal consciousness to be interesting, concrete, falsifiable, written clearly, and novel-to-me.

To me, inconvenience sounds like costs in time or attention, rather than in status or feelings. But I can't find a good word for tangential personal psychosocial costs. gpt-4 suggests vibes.

An underrated solution here is for the busy person to simply charge for their time. Some professionals already do this - my coworker recently paid a few hundred dollars for an hour of time from someone who built a successful social media app.
It can be as easy as turning on the Stripe integration on your Calendly.

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