Yelnats T.J.

17Joined Jun 2022



I am going to disagree that "the gains in animal welfare are likely to outweigh the sustainability cost." IMO, its very uncertain.

I think it's important to note that the EA Forum post you cite on this topic didn't take into account wild animal suffering, and it's calculations on human life loss from climate change rely on one study so the analysis could change if another study has a very different variable.

But I do commend the creatively in the political strategy, I think EA needs a lot more of that.

I'd like to see if this analysis holds up if you change the human deaths this century per kgs variable (as well as took into account wild animal deaths).


The "0,00000025" just comes from Bressler 2021, from what I see. I did some calculations to see how much the Bressler rate differs from another rate I've read about--the Climate Vulnerability Monitor. It's possible the Bessler number undercounts by a factor between 1:2 and 1:34 


Key limitations with my numbers:

  • The Bressler number is looking forward to the future but, to compare it, I apply that rate to all existing GHG emissions.
  • Beef production might have an asymmetric contribution to climate versus pollution; the latter being the biggest contributor to the Climate Vulnerability Monitor's high-end numbers
  • I cherry picked the Climate Vulnerability Monitor. Maybe there is research out there that suggests the GHG kg/human death rate is even lower than Bressler's

I agree it's very complicated, but it seems possible the results from wild animal suffering/death could be enough to negate the gains you think will come from farmed animals. Hence, I think the policy recommendations should with a big uncertainty cauvea t. It's possible those recommendations could make things worse.

I'd add specifically transforming American governance/political system and protecting the United States from destabilization/the anti-democratic threat. (I'm singling out the United States because of its consequences as the world's superpower.)

I don't think the content of the commercial was objectionable. I think it's on par with all the other fanciful commercials out there. (Given, I think there is a larger moral conversation about commercials/marketing undermining the free will of people to make decisions based on their cognition and not through emotions and biases).

I think you are right that crypto is not the same type of asset as owning a stock or real estate, and the fact that regular people will more frequently come out as net losers in crypto than with stocks or real estate should have prompted moral questions. Because that means the success of FTX/SBF (and thus his potential EA giving) was in tension with financial welfare of many regular people.

I think another observation is that Super Bowl commercials and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a basketball arena and a video game team were HUGE investments that should have been predicated on some serious ROI analysis and probably should have prompted questions from EAs adjacent to FTX's inner circle. Apparently the video-game team sponsorship was tens of millions of dollars above the price for a sponsorship in that industry.

It's not that these high-dollar marketing investments couldn't be justified ROI-wise, but they should have prompted questions (by EAs that had direct contact with FTX) about if due diligence was been conducted by the FTX team, considering the stakes.

In general I think the most realistic red flags that could have been spotted was the management practices of FTX's inner circle. One of those being the large amount of money burned on marketing, especially sponsoring that team way above the market price (it reeks of being a decision driven by the inner circle's affinity for video games than a prudent marketing decision).

I think the line of questioning we need to ask about red flags should be directed towards the EA orgs and influential EAs that interacted directly with the FTX team, and it should go like this: Did they miss the red flags because they legit weren't aware of any; did they see red flags but not recognize them as being red flags; did they recognize red flags but decide that things must be okay because the people at FTX are closer to the situation and are reasonable people; did they recognize red flags but not bring them up to people at FTX because they didn't want to offend or felt they couldn't approach FTX about those issues.

I'm interested in the malaria trials at UMD and other applicable ones for a 28 y/o male in the DMV.

How long will you be checking that link? Say  a new person comes onto my radar 6 months from now, will it still be relevant to submit a rec via that link?

For me this isn't counterproductive because it's "brief." It's counterproductive because even in being brief it still misses important considerations. Take a look at the issues that I highlight in my earlier comment. I did all of that without any research. I typed it out during a long metro ride. For me this wasn't "brief," it was half-baked, and it contributes to problematic framing around billionaires that doesn't hold them to higher moral standards. (In my book, Bill Gates shouldn't get higher than a B+ and the rest of the Western billionaires are C or lower).

Unless the author had minimal familiarity with billionaires, I am having trouble seeing how we arrived at these assessments after 20 hours of research. Maybe elaborating on the research process would illuminate why there are blind spots.

Why does Larry Page get a "B" and Sergei Brin get a "B-"? what is Brin doing that is worse than Page and vice versa?

I was surprised how slim the reviews were of the billionaires given the hours spent on it TBH. I think we do a disservice oversimplifying the impact (or lack thereof of billionaires) and not hold them to a stricter standard. Below are some examples of things I would have mentioned.

  • Bill Gates has tried to keep the IP of COVID vaccines from being released to manufacturers of countries like India. I don't think the case of COVID IP is open and shut, but it's quite possible that Gates is contributing to lots of unecessary COVID deaths.

  • Elon Musk did a great service by making electric vehicles trendy, but he is also really hurting the climate by working against public transit and pushing car ownership. To the extent we produce new vehicles, they should be electric. But addressing climate change means reducing car ownership/car production not maintaining or growing the status quo--building electric cars is still significantly harmful to the environment.

  • You mention Elon's allged intention to make Twitter a better public good which has often been brought up in terms of free speech. But you don't mention Elon has an anti-free-speech track record of going after (legitimate) critics of him and trying to get them deplatformed. We should be concerned how he might actually lead Twitter.

  • Jeff Bezos' Amazon unecessarily pushes consumerism which is quite harmful for the environment, as you point out with Arnault. Amazon would still be thriving without trying to manipulate people's psychology to get them to buy more things. This is also arguably bad for the consumer if they make purchases that end up being of little value.

  • For what it's worth, Gates broke a lot of IP law in Microsoft's origins and didn't become philanthropic until Microsoft was under investigation for being a monopoly.

It's omissions like these that make me think this post contributes more so to bad discourse about billionaires than a good discourse.

Don't take it personally. I think you could resolve this stuff by being more holistic in the review. Or if this is just an idea you are playing around with, then I would leave off the grades.

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