Brad West

1058 karmaJoined Nov 2021



    What's even more... With a business like Thankyou (or Newman's Own, Patagonia) where a charitable foundation is in the shareholder position there isn't really necessarily a reason that prices would be higher. Basically, all the businesses have shareholders, this business form just capitalizes on the identity of a potentially popular shareholder. The main disadvantage is that it is difficult to raise capital for these businesses, but I think this problem could be overcome if strong evidence can be established for a competitive advantage for Profit for Good businesses.

    The below essay conveys more of my thoughts. If you are interested in trying to fund effective charities through the consumer economy, I've set up a nonprofit for that purpose and would definitely be interested in talking to you. My email:

    Are you referring to Benefit Corporations? Social Enterprises? The B Corp organization itself? That there are businesses (Newman’s Own, Patagonia, Humanitix, Thankyou) that are PFGs? I don't understand what you're asserting I am totally unaware of.

    I don't care if you respond, just don't want comments to suggest my ignorance of such entities.

    I would have much less confidence if in the couple years I'd been pursuing this, that I had ever clearly seen the idea explored of this sort of business structure being used as a philanthropic financial leverage tool.

    There definitely has been lots of thought about ethical capitalism and other ways of doing business in a better ways. But I haven't seen this sort of weaponization of philanthropic resources... It's like you say, there isn't the capital for it because using money in this way is just not something philanthropists are even thinking about and no one is suggesting that they even engage in experimentation regarding the size of the effects involved. You just assume that if someone has the choice to buy nearly identical products at nearly identical prices and save a kid from malaria rather than enrich some random shareholder, they'd ignore this opportunity. You just assume that a brand identity based on profits bettering the world couldn't garner support from celebrities/influencers to better effect/lower cost.

    FWIW, I've spoken with economists who agree that my notion is theoretically sound: PFG adds a dimension of competition on which PFGs likely excel over competitors. Perhaps they should go back to school as well.

    You mistake me being incapable of being convinced with me not having been convinced by you. Rather than being interested in testing the effect size, (if any) of the performance advantage being a PFG might have, you dismiss this as having been considered and explored. I don't think it's my epistemics that are flawed for thinking experimentation in this area is merited.

    Yes that's right.

    For me, if the answer to #1 is in favor of saving for runway, that disposes of the question. Just need to be careful, as you are aware, of motivated reasoning.

    For #2, for me, the good demands all of your money. Of course, you are not going to be the most effective agent if you keep yourself in poverty, so this probably doesn't imply total penury. But insofar as other conscious beings today are capable of positive and negative experiences like you are, it isn't clear why you should privilege your own over those of other conscious beings.

    It may be that building runway is, in fact, the best way to do good in the long term. And maybe certain levels of personal consumption make you more able to sustainably do good through your work.

    But just engage seriously with the cost of that runway. With straightforward Givewell charities, that might mean someone dies annually that you could have saved.

    Thanks James.

    I'm also concerned about the counterfactual...

    Would valuable connections that otherwise be made be precluded because they are behind big paywalls? Or would such connections never have happened (or have been more costly in other terms) in the first place? My intuition is that those who would put a large donation cost behind their time would be those who) for whom it would be difficult already to obtain an introduction. I think that if others make introductions, which is often how traditional networking happens, it seems rather gauche for one to also impose the charitable paywall.

    Further, I'd hope that HMO could augment traditionalist networking, perhaps by enabling initial inroads into networks, incurring an initial cost for a way into a chain in which the next steps don't have financial costs.

    I am also less concerned because the Listeners isn't personally benefiting from the paywall and this makes me less concerned that they would choose to forgo promising conversations. Again, there definitely is the concern, however.

    And you're right, currently no funds. Some seed money would definitely be helpful for development.

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