This is a linkpost for https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/16/is-the-effective-altruism-movement-in-trouble
Opinion piece in the Guardian by Olúfẹ́mi O Táíwò (assistant professor of philosophy at Georgetown University) and Joshua Stein (postdoctoral fellow at the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics)
Summary / Gist of the article:
- SBF alleged fraud calls into question effective altruism. If the movement doesn’t change course, one of the most ambitious charitable drives in recent history will end up like so many others: a lab and playground for wealthy donors.
- SBF began his trading career after William MacAskill's advice, then started FTX
- SBF's EA commitment public image helped attract investment, and helped distract from SBF's crypto approach which souded like Ponzi scheme to "industry insiders" https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-25/sam-bankman-fried-described-yield-farming-and-left-matt-levine-stunned
- SBF fraud illustrates that EA built political culture "practically invites the most egregious forms of capture by the rich."
- "Few meaningful guardrails exist to stop the rich dictating what happens to the money hoarded in philantropic organisations"
- Short critique of longtermism as a guise for tech billionnaires to develop pet projects
- "In 2021, OpenPhilanthropy donated $80m (£67m) towards the study of potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence, the second-most of any issue the foundation targeted; by contrast, OpenPhilanthropy donated $30m (£25m) to the Against Malaria Foundation, which distributes insecticidal nets. We are uncertain about the impacts of artificial intelligence, but we know there were about 241 million malaria cases causing 627,000 deaths in 2020. Comparing investments in global public health infrastructure to a possible far future universe of billions of digital people is practically and morally dubious. Effective altruism organizations donate hills of cash to research that excites their donors, rather than focus on proven, efficient solutions to imminent needs."
- asserts that when MacAskill recruited at MIT and acted as liaison with Elon Musk, he courted funders and guaranteed that EA's political agenda would reflect their interests and worldview
- "Effective" part of EA being questioned as crypto being a fraud is far more likely thatn a "robot apocalypse" or "other speculative “tail risks” effective altruists pretend to be capable of managing"
- "Altruism" part called into question. Former EA's proposed participatory funding and democratic controls by those who are impacted. Their criticisms were ignored in favour of tech and capital friendly research agenda.
- EA are suckers because they would "would hand the reins of social progress to crypto billionaires"