1037Joined Sep 2014


Somehow I missed your reply originally; I've updated my comment to correct the author name of the post.

Thanks, I've updated my post reflecting this and citing your answer.

Thanks! Sebastian added one row about Luna (the very first in the timeline) based on this feedback. The timeline of FTX (i.e., not the collapse but FTX itself) may eventually have more coverage of the LUNA episode and its implications for FTX, but that timeline is currently in very early stages.

Good point! My understanding is that SBF's argument was that the right thing to average wasn't serial rounds of oneself (where the money to play with would be determined by past rounds), but parallel-universe versions of oneself (i.e., of 100 parallel universes with SBF trying his strategy, what % would lead to him being super-rich?).

Answer by vipulnaikOct 27, 202250 by Bryan Caplan is relevant. Caplan is very much against spending time reading the news.

I don't think Bryan Caplan self-identifies as EA, but he is favorably inclined to EA (see for instance) and has appeared on some EA-related podcasts as well as debated Peter Singer (see for more).

I'm pretty sympathetic to the general idea of consumption smoothing over time based on one's expected average lifetime income; in particular, I think there are often cases where people are unnecessarily miserly with their money at a younger age in order to hit a certain saving rate, which isn't optimal for them.

However, one very important angle that informs a lot of this is the fact that we don't have efficient capital markets, which specifically here means that people don't have frictionless access to unlimited amounts of credit. This means that there's a very meaningful sense in which a "zero balance" is a meaningful lower bound, which means that it really does become important to save for emergencies, more than it otherwise would be (if your balance were allowed to go negative, then you wouldn't need to save for emergencies that much, because you could always finance emergencies with credit and pay it back with future earnings).

A related angle, that further amplifies this, is the significant uncertainty people may have about their life trajectory and future earning potential. Depending on risk-aversion, therefore, it may make sense to adopt the "consumption smoothing" strategy against not the median value of one's expected average income, but against a lower percentile (e.g., the 5th percentile or 25th percentile). In such situations, people would generally appear to see increasing consumption over time as it becomes clearer to them that they are not at the tail of worst outcomes with respect to lifetime income.

Thanks! I think what you said is correct from the viewpoint of individual donees -- an individual donee isn't guaranteed to get all or most of the donation of a donee at a high level. Though especially in the EA community it's probably true that donors donating large sums of money in total will usually donate nontrivial sums per donee if they donate at all (for instance, a level 5 donor is unlikely to make donations of just $100 to things they deem as the most effective uses of money, because marginal value functions rarely cross that quickly). I don't have rigorous data to back this up and maybe I'm wrong about it.


The footer on your site says to post any questions as public comments on this post, so here goes (this is not directly related to the content of this post):

I noticed that a $470,000 grant to Charity Entrepreneurship, that was visible on your site as recently as August 31 (see, is now no longer visible on your grants page. What happened to the grant?

I also noticed that lists a grant to Michael Robkin, but that this grant is not listed at either (open call grants) or (staff-led grants). My understanding was that everything in should be listed either as an open call grant or a staff-led grant, but this does not seem to be the case. What might be going on?

Thank you!

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