EA is constrained by the following formula:
Number of Donors x Average Donation = Number of Grants x Average Grant
If we lose a big donor, there are four things EA can do:
imo EA should have remained frugal.
For theoretical reasons, this makes sense. It's incompatible with Singerite alturism to spend money on frivolous luxuries while people are still starving. EAs were supposed to donate their surplus income to GiveWell. This doesn't change when your surplus income grows. At least, not as much as people behaved.
Also for practical reasons. We could've hired double the researchers on half the salary. Okay maybe 1.25x the researchers on 80% the salary. I don't know the optimal point in the workforce-salary tradeoff but EA definitely went too far in the salary direction.
The result was golden handcuffs, grifters, and value drift.
Let's bring back Ascetic EA. Hummus on toast.