327 karmaJoined Pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD)Seeking workVienna, Austria



I am a cognitive scientist who specialized in rationality under radical uncertainty.

For many years I worked full-time in effective altruism community building, communication, and outreach.

How others can help me

Looking for what to do next, this could be a PhD or any other role that is uniquely fitted to my profile and interests

How I can help others

Reach out to me if you have questions about EA ideas and concepts, the EA community and landscape, rationality literature, cognitive science, psychology, artificial intelligence, science or communications more broadly, marketing, complexity science, meta tribe, mental health, weight lifting...


We all pay for a government to ensure internal safety in general, from which everyone benefits. Everyone benefits from general safety and having these conditions to determine in a non-violent way who succeeds and who doesn't.

And being wealthy is a good thing! "The wealthy" should never be the enemy. Many wealthy people have contributed so much value to their society that rational people would vote on how much to pay them for their contribution; their current wealth is precisely what they should get, given what they contributed. 
The only problematic wealth is the one that was achieved by unlawful means (in which you don't need redistribution but law enforcement and taking back money that wasn't acquired in a way anyone would agree with!).
And who should be thought as the outgroup are rent-seekers independent of their current wealth.


Because you will also select the people who will make the "consciously planned economy" from the population and can most optimistically assume normal distribution of these traits in people in power. It is, however, more likely that the less⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ unselfish people will aspire to these positions and ultimately use them for their own ends, resulting in a redistribution of power to more selfish people. Centralized systems inherently offer more affordances of seizing power to selfish ends.

Reading the history of Mao, the Russian Revolution, and the Gulag Archipelago helps with some context.

Firstly, thank you in general for writing this up, this is an important piece of information and creates common knowledge and norms around how to behave related to the topic.

"You still control your own social circle - you don’t have to be friends with jerks just because they are EAs."

Joining EA at a subjectively still young and starry-eyed age, I equated anyone associating with EA as "living up to the EA principles". Now being older and more experienced, I see many younger people in EA making the same mistake. By now, I'm convinced that e.g. interest in ethics and actual ethical behavior and character correlate only very mildly. Similarly, there are many people in EA who are not particularly ethical either. Humans are still humans. 


"utilitiarians should self-efface their utilitarianism" "Parfit suggests adopting whatever moral system seems to be most likely to produce the highest utility" "you may instead need to forget that you ever believed in utilitarianism"
This sounds plausible: you orient yourself towards the good and backpropagate over time how things play out and then learn through it which system and policies are reliable and truly produce good results (in the context and world you find yourself). This is also exactly what has played out in my own development, by orienting toward what produces good consequences and understanding how uncertain the world is (and how easily I fooled myself by saying I was doing the thing with the best consequences when I didn't) I came out with virtue ethics myself.

"For a while, I have been thinking of writing a post with many similar themes and maybe I still will at some point." I would read it with joy and endorse a full post being devoted to this topic (happy to read drafts and provide thoughts)

Focusmate has changed a lot since this post was published; maybe invite links are disabled by now.

Thank you for reading and reviewing the book for the rest of us!
Disappointed to hear it is close minded in regards to the political framework it comes from.
I do think there are many valid arguments to be made to criticize EA on its own terms and hope this is what the book set out to do.

  • During EAG London 2021 @Emerson Spartz and I initiated a informal but successful "Complexity and EA" meetup. 
  • @Michael Hinge wrote "Complexity Science, Economics and the Art of Zen" inspired by the meeting 
  • We now have a Telegram Chat and Discord Server for people interested in the topic, please reach out if you want to get added. (Not posting the link to keep entry selective) ("ComplexitEA")

Further resources we collected or found relevant:

More than ever as far as I can tell 

People who like Logan's post on EA burnout will love Tyler Alterman's post on Effective altruism in the garden of ends. Both are close to my own experience.

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