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Brendon_Wong comments on Accomplishments Open Thread - March 2016 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 09:07:57PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the input! Yeah I'd also be interested in the difference in impact between the two approaches, and I might post more on it in the next few days or weeks so hopefully that provokes some deep thinking on the matter.

Responding to your point on compounding societal interest, if I give $1,000 now then 1 life could be saved now, But if I wait, invest, and give $2,000 7 years later, 2 lives could be saved. How does saving 1 life 7 years earlier lead to compounding benefits? Sure that 1 person now gets to live, but if I waited to donate, than 2 people who otherwise might not have been saved would have been saved right? More net good by waiting, as long as people remain to be saved (and unless utopia is imminent I think there will still be life saving opportunities for effective charities at least in the next few years if not for the foreseeable future). I think I need help seeing the social good compounding effect.

Also an argument could be made that EA charities will become even more effective in the future, another argument to delay donating.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 March 2016 11:00:49PM 0 points [-]

Brendon, I suggest you make a post on this topic calculating all of the social good done by donating now vs. later. For instance, one life saved now creates goodwill about the nonprofit and its benefits, from both other potential donors and stakeholders, and signals to them the benefit of what this nonprofit is doing. Likewise, what if everyone followed this strategy - then the nonprofit wouldn't exist, and you wouldn't have anything to give to 7 years later. So consider all the pros and cons, and make a post on this.