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Roxanne_Heston comments on Comparative advantage in the talent market - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Roxanne_Heston  (EA Profile) 16 April 2018 01:01:09AM 2 points [-]

We can do the same for trading talent. People thinking about working in another cause area can ask around whether there’s someone considering switching to a cause area preferred by them. However, trading places in this scenario brings major practical challenges, so it is likely not viable in most cases.

One difficulty with this is that it's hard to go back on the trade if the other person decides to stop cooperating. If you're doing a moral trade of say, being vegetarian in order to get someone to donate more to a poverty charity, you can just stop being vegetarian if the person stops donating. (You should want to do this so that the trades actually maintain validity as trades, rather than means of hijacking people into doing things that fulfill the other person's values.) However, if Allison focuses on biorisk to get Bettina to do animal welfare work, either one is likely to end up with only weakly fungible career capital and therefore be unable to pivot back to their own priorities if the other pulls out. This is particularly bad if fungibility is asymmetrical -- say, if one person cultivated operations experience that can be used many places, while the other built up deep domain knowledge in an area they don't prioritize. It therefore seems important that people considering doing this kind of thing aim not only for having tradable priorities but also similar costs to withdrawing from the trade.