Ben_West

Interim Managing Director @ CEA
12941 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (15+ years)Panama City, Panama
🤷♂🤷♂🤷♂.ws

Bio

Non-EA interests include chess and TikTok (@benthamite). We are probably hiring: https://www.centreforeffectivealtruism.org/careers

How others can help me

Feedback always appreciated; feel free to email/DM me or use this link if you prefer to be anonymous.

Sequences
3

AI Pause Debate Week
EA Hiring
EA Retention

Comments
953

Topic contributions
6

This is cool, thanks for doing this and writing it up!

Answer by Ben_WestFeb 09, 202413
1
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I'm an outgoing person, not a new appointee, but I wrote Third Wave Effective Altruism last year and still think that discussions about post and the rest of EA strategy fortnight are helpful frames for what 2024 might be like.

"Blatantly false" feels a bit hyperbolic but sure, if you have an alternative word for "convicted" that covers both criminal and civil cases I would be much obliged. I asked some lawyers and looked around online and couldn't find anything, but I agree it would be better if this information was in the main text instead of a footnote, all else equal.

Congrats on getting to 450k! I know you were targeting 1.5m, but 450k is nothing to sneeze at.

I'm excited to hear this! Congratulations Niel, and I am excited to see 80k's continued success.

I suppose I recommend people think something like "ok, how bad was this really" when they look at billionaire crimes.

And also billionaire acquittals! Convictions just don't correlate that well with commonsense morality, in both directions.

This project has honestly made me kind of nihilistic regarding interpreting white-collar crime; it seems like you often need to spend a very substantial amount of time digging into the details to actually understand how you should update on someone's behavior. (I found this book helpful, for those interested in reading more.)

This was cool, thanks for sharing this. The evidence was stronger than what I was expecting.

Thanks for doing this and publicly posting the results! I was surprised / impressed by the number of graduates who got jobs at relevant organizations.

New Netflix show ~doubles search traffic for plant-based eating

Image

h/t Lewis Bollard.

Fair point about the company age, and yeah I agree that this list is not representative of "people who join EA groups" (for many reasons), but my intuition is that these people actually are relatively altruistic by commonsense morality standards. Anil Agarwal stuck out to me as arguably the most egregious person on this list, and he pledged 75% of his wealth to charity. Milken is maybe number two, and he's given > $1B. And of course SBF is probably high in the list of egregiousness, and seemingly was sincere in giving lots of money to charity. (Though note that SBF wasn't in my data set because the giving pledge kicked him out.)

I would be interested in someone filtering this list by "people who have actually given >$X" and seeing if that changes the results though.

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