Charles Dillon

1428 karmaJoined Dec 2018


Experienced quant trader, based in London. Formerly a volunteer at Rethink Priorities, where I did some forecasting research. Interested in most things, donations have been primarily to longtermism, animal welfare and meta causes.


Thanks for posting this - on a quick read it looks pretty accurate to me and I'll be glad to have this as a resource to point people to when they seem not to understand exactly why what FTX did was so bad.

I don't understand why you think this is the case. If you think of the "distribution of grants given" as a sum of multiple different distributions (e.g. upskilling, events, and funding programmes) of significantly varying importance across cause areas, then more or less dropping the first two would give your overall distribution a very different shape.

I think getting enough people interested in working on animal welfare has not usually been the bottleneck, relative to money to directly deploy on projects, which tend to be larger.

Seems pretty unsurprising - the animal welfare fund is mostly giving to orgs, while the others give to small groups or individuals for upskilling/outreach frequently.

Type 1 diabetic and long time EA here.

Generally when I have donated to help people directly (most of my recent donations have not been of this form, to be clear, in recent years my donations have been focused on research or on helping animals) I am not really thinking about how big the problem is. I am thinking "what will the consequence of this donation be?" If I am donating less than millions of dollars, I'm not likely to solve the whole issue, so the question of if the issue is big or small in a global sense just isn't very important.

For type 1 diabetes, what can a donation of $5k do? I'm not sure, but the baseline for what I can do with $5k in the global health space is "prevent a child from dying of malaria", so I would want to find something I thought was better than that before doing so.

That last bit is the key to the EA mindset to me - given a fixed donation budget, every time we choose to give to something, we are choosing not to give that money to everything else. So we ought to triage, and give to where we think the money or effort can do the most good.

For someone who knows of a really high leverage way to impact the affordability or availability of insulin (or for a researcher with a chance of discovering a cure or improved treatment), it might be that the best place for them to focus their efforts is on that. There are millions of type 1 diabetics, so any one person who could make a meaningful impact there could have enormous impact. But it's still good for them to ask the question and be aware of what other avenue to impact they might have, if their goal is to do the most good.

Did someone say it would be bad? Where?

I think the layout of this post is quite reader unfriendly.

I strongly suggest you start with a full summary rather than just an intro, and don't bury your conclusions midway between the post and some very long appendices which are unlikely to be very useful to 90% of readers.

As it is, anyone wishing to respond in depth would basically have to do the work of summarizing the post themselves, which increases the friction on feedback.

The article gives a magnitude for fish farming. It does not talk about wild fish. Why is the scale of wild fish relevant?

Did you read the article? It is about intensive fish farming, and addresses all your points in detail, which you do not acknowledge.

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