Comment author: Arepo 30 January 2018 08:11:38PM *  2 points [-]

I had a feeling that might be the case. That page still leaves some possible alternatives, though, eg this exemption:

an employer is usually expected to provide accommodation for people doing that type of work (for example a manager living above a pub, or a vicar looking after a parish)

It seems unlikely, but worth looking at whether developing a sufficient culture of EA orgs offering accommodation might suffice the 'usually expected' criterion.

It also seems a bit vague about what would happen if the EA org actually owned the accommodation rather than reimbursing rent as an expense, or if a wealthy EA would-be donor did, and let employees (potentially of multiple EA orgs) stay in it for little or no money (and if so, in the latter case, whether 'wealthy would-be donor' could potentially be a conglomerate a la EA funds)

There seems at least some precedent for this in the UK in that some schools and universities offer free accommodation to their staff, which don't seem to come under any of the exemptions listed on the page.

Obviously other countries with an EA presence might have more/less flexibility around this sort of thing. But if you have an organisation giving accommodation to 10 employees in a major developed world city, it seems like you'd be saving (in the UK) 20% tax on something in the order of £800 per month per employee, ie about £7600 per year, which seems like a far better return than investing the money would get (not to mention, if it's offered as a benefit for the job, being essentially doubly invested - once on the tax savings, once on the normal value of owning a property).

So while I'm far from confident that it would be ultimately workable, it seems like there would be high EV in an EA with tax law experience looking into it in each country with an EA org.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 16 February 2018 09:15:42AM 0 points [-]

Have you got any examples of schools and universities offering free accommodation to staff? I've only heard of subsidised accommodation, and here - - it says that the difference between the rent paid and market rate is taxable.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 30 January 2018 08:56:41PM 6 points [-]

Something along these lines that I've been looking into is providing a cheap hotel for EAs to live in for free whilst they independently study/research/work on start-ups. More information in the following facebook group: [EA Hotel, free accommodation and board for up to 2 years, Blackpool, UK] Hoping to post more detail here soon.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 30 January 2018 06:23:38PM 1 point [-]

Regarding potentially tax deductible items mentioned in section 5, usually accommodation or anything regarded as for personal use is not included. It would be regarded as payment in kind and therefore taxable (and also make the tax reporting more complicated!) This in the UK at least. E.g.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 07 January 2018 09:44:47PM 1 point [-]

You need to weigh up the possibility of helping further life that is very alien (with radically different morality - see for great examples) against the chance of drawing unwanted attention to ourselves. My intuition is that the scale would lean heavily in favour of staying quiet. Unless there is some reason to believe that morality would somehow be convergent in the universe?

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 01 December 2017 01:02:21AM 1 point [-]

Can ALLFED get listed on EA Funds ( That should enable tax deductible donations from the UK.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 12 June 2017 12:31:29AM 1 point [-]

Was thinking that there could be a tie-in with Giving What We Can's My Giving. You could tick a box to make your My Giving profile public, and then have another box for people browsing to "copy this donor's distribution of donations" like some trading websites (such as eToro) offer. Although they would not, unfortunately, come with tallies of expected total utilons produced, there could be league tables of most copied donors by number of people copying, and amount donated following their distribution.

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 06 April 2017 07:22:01PM *  2 points [-]

My approach here is to look for ways to help people in the EA community save money on basic needs. A pattern I'm noticing is that they often seem to be good for community building too.

Examples of this:

1) The EA Safety net project, which I've just started working on with dedicated others.

2) Shared housing for people involved with EA & rationality. An especially promising example is the Accelerator Project, I think. I've also found 19 rationality/EA houses around the world so far (I'm slowly working on getting one going in the Netherlands).

3) Even simpler: couchsurfing

I think that scaling cost-saving solutions like these are a more promising area to explore than funding basic incomes (depending on how many people take part for the time put into kickstarting the project). Whether spending time on starting a cost-saving project yourself is worth it does depend on your skills and opportunities.

For me, funding movement building/far future orgs generally makes more sense than a basic income (most of which goes to giving a coordinated group of people incomes so they can take risks) unless a basic income would target high-potential people only. Or perhaps you could fund someone to start a cost-savings project. :-)

In response to comment by remmelt  (EA Profile) on Concrete project lists
Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 07 April 2017 01:04:47PM 2 points [-]

There is also the Kernel Project (Manchester, UK) - rationalist & rationalist-adjacent low cost living and community building. I would be happy to see more EAs involved.

In response to January Open Thread
Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 20 January 2015 08:00:38AM *  4 points [-]

I want to publish several posts on this forum in the coming weeks. This is an open call for reviewers for various posts. I believe it's more important to get the information out there than for me to publish it. So, for topics for which I have insufficient content or information, I'm seeking coauthors. Here's the list. Feel free to comment which ones you'd be willing to review below, or send me a private message. I may draft some of these posts in Google Docs, or another word processor, before I publish them, so send me a private message with your email if you like. Just comment below if you're generally willing to review them, instead of any particular ones:

Does It Make Sense to Make A Multi-Year Donation Commitment to A Single Organization? Essentially, this already published comment

What Doesn't Count As Effective Altruism? Rob Wiblin presented a talk at the 2014 Effective Altruism Summit entitled 'What is Effective Altruism?' Posting a summary of the whole talk on this forum seems redundant, but near the end Mr. Wiblin covered what, at least from the perspective of himself and the Centre for Effective Altruism, what's disqualified from effective altruism. I believe this may make a good post. If the idea of this post raises red flags in your mind about possible controversy, I anticipate that, and you're also welcome to review my post before I publish it.

Neglectedness, Tractability, and Importance/Value The idea of heuristically identifying a cause area based on these three criteria was more or less a theme of the 2014 Effective Altruism Summit. This three-prong approach was independently highlighted by Peter Thiel, not just for non-profit work but entrepreneurship and and innovation more generally, and Holden Karnofsky, as the basis for how the Open Philanthropy Project asks questions about what cause areas to consider. Several months ago I discussed with Owen Cotton-Barratt publishing a post on this subject, or perhaps coauthoring it. Still, that hasn't happened from either of us yet, so I'll definitely be doing it, seeking input from yourself as well.

Effective Collaboration Michael Vassar gave a small lightning-talk at the 2014 Effective Altruism Summit on how organizations and others within the effective altruism movement may better collaborate. In his opinion, there is or was a dearth of this within the movement, and that's a problem. I'd like to interview or contact Mr. Vassar about this, as my notes are incomplete. If I can't achieve that, I likely won't publish this post unless others come forward with their detailed perspectives on this issue.

Volunteer and Human Resource Coordination This would be a followup to the above post, with possible intent to launch or coordinate a project. Vassar noted as an aside that the effective altruism movement may greatly benefit from having something like a COO between organizations, or something like a super-secretary. This could be a person, perhaps full-time, completely dedicated to getting all of effective altruism's logistical ducks in a row. This seems an important intermediate role. It may be fitting to have this organized by the Centre For Effective Altruism. However, just in case, this post may survey .impact and other effective altruist coalitions in an effort towards greater coordination and communication between everyone.

Crowdfunding and Effective Altruism This would be a post exploring how to use crowdfunding effectively, how it's previously been used across the world for effective causes, and what future potential it may hold for effective altruism. As I write this, I realize this post would also need to differentiate crowdfunding versus normal fundraising, and what the advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding might be relative to normal fundraising. If you have experience in organizing either normal fundraisers, or crowdfunding campaigns, your input would especially be appreciated.

What Role Do Small-to-Medium Donors Play In the Future of Effective Altruism In the face of individuals such as Elon Musk and Peter Thiel making large donations to effective organizations, and cause areas, to the tune of millions of dollars, and in the near future Good Ventures throwing tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars at effective causes and charities, I anticipate they may exhaust giving opportunities presently available and sensible for most of us. Most of us won't become multi-millionaires, presumably. Even in the face of donating four- or five-figure sums each year, an extremely high net-worth donor or foundation may render redundant the efforts of tens or hundreds of other effective altruists earning to give. Whether its funding our currently recommended charities to the point of room for more funding issues in one fell swoop, or the most effective cause areas requiring only huge donations to be tractable, such as policy advocacy, it poses an issue. I feel like this may pose an identity crisis for effective altruism, and may change how, e.g., 80,000 Hours recommends effective altruists enter earning to give as a career.

Reevaluating Earning to Give This post would be related to the above, and its implications for earning to give. Also, I'd be seeking arguments both for and against earning to give as a career option worth pursuing from within the effective altruism movement, but not from 80,000 Hours.

Member Perspectives on 80,000 Hours This post would be a retrospective and a set of critiques on how various members of 80,000 Hours think of its performance. This could range from general satisfaction with the organization, to measured evaluations of specific outcomes from 80,000 Hours. This would deliberately seeking input from others, like myself, who don't have an affiliation with 80,000 Hours beyond latent membership.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 20 January 2015 07:18:31PM *  3 points [-]

"What Role Do Small-to-Medium Donors Play In the Future of Effective Altruism"

I've been wondering the same. But I've got a feeling that top tier philanthropists deliberately restrict their giving to ~50% at max. of the room for more funding, both to encourage smaller donors, and also because they only want to support things in proportion to their popular appeal. The latter also explains the motivation for genuinely restricted donation matching.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 13 October 2014 07:22:44PM *  0 points [-]


Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 14 October 2014 09:51:53AM 1 point [-]

Deleted because.. bananas?

Comment author: Amanda_Jane 11 October 2014 07:20:49AM *  2 points [-]

Hi all - love this discussion :)

I'm a vegetarian and a pretty serious athlete. I have a great relationship with my GP, have been tested for several dietary insufficiencies that I now take supplements for (iron, B12, zinc) and all is swell. I'm actually a medical student and have looked into the literature on vegetarian diets and can't see any problem with them as long as those supplements are taken.

I accept ethical arguments for veganism, HOWEVER given the amount of exercise I do I'd love advice from anyone on here how to get enough protein as a vegan! Right now most of my protein comes from eggs and whey-based protein powder and I absolutely could not give these up. If someone can solve this for me you've got yourself a new vegan!

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 14 October 2014 09:49:37AM *  1 point [-]

According to Google, oats have more protein than eggs by weight (17% vs. 13%), and porridge is quick and easy to make in the microwave. There are also lots of vegan protein powders. Maybe try soy, as pea doesn't taste very nice.

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