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it's fine, I am not personally offended by these estimates of how much I'm worth (not least because I don't take them seriously and I actually don't think you do either, in that faced with a dying baby or a billion dying insects you'd save the baby). On some level I find them very funny. At the very least, however, I would ask this question: can you see how this stuff is sort of bad for EA's wider reputation, on some quite fundamental level?

 It's very hard to trust someone who thinks you're only worth 50 chickens or 500 insects or whatever. Sure, you might well suspect he's lying (to you and himself), and if you know him really well you can probably say with near-certainty his revealed preferences are very different, but from the outside it's kind of hard to know for sure. Occasionally people do actually believe this stuff!  EA already has a trust problem, between FTX and the subsequent Governance Slack leaks, and this sort of thing just compounds it massively.

By default, you shouldn't really trust a utilitarian/consequentialist because you only need to be the wrong side of their utility/consequences calculations once.  Ironically I actually think Will MacAskill, of all people, explicitly acknowledged this problem once upon a time and wrote somewhere about how consequentialists should address it by committing to high ethical standards in their everyday dealings. If I'm remembering rightly, well, how's that working out....?

But look, deep down, our whole society is built on trust. The law is a last backup when things go wrong, not a first resort, which means if you want to achieve anything meaningful beyond a very tiny set of ideologically identikit fellow travellers you need to be trustworthy. This means that EAs need other people to trust them, and somehow I feel like "oh those are the guys who think I'm worth 50 chickens" just doesn't really help. Maybe the problem is the messaging here as much as the content, although incredibly long-winded academic arguments that fly in the face of basic common sense don't really help either.


If EA has a management skills shortage, which seems to be the takeaway from a lot of posts here, one obvious conclusion is to try to recruit more people with managerial skills, but another might just be that there are just way way too many EA orgs and they could all be rationalized and merged a bit.

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