Comment author: ole_koksvik 09 August 2018 11:50:32PM 0 points [-]

Thank you for your replies.

[Warning: musings ahead.]

Re your reply on 2, I found it interesting that overall you seem focused on working with *insiders8 --- people already quite involved and invested in the political system --- rather than aiming for uptake in the population at large, and then to use that as leverage on politicians (which is what I had been musing about when thinking about how to cause political change). I wonder whether there's data on the effectiveness on the two different approaches. Most likely it's too dependent on context and question.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 14 August 2018 09:18:31AM 0 points [-]

Yeah, I agree that we've gone for quite a top-down rather than bottom-up approach. Though less so than in the UK case. There, my understanding is that the APPG was started only after having arranged 1-on-1 meetings with the relevant MPs.

My intuition is that it will be difficult to cause change in this area by driving popular opinion, but you might need some public opinion behind it to make it stick. To be crass, I would expect politicians to be able to wrangle very few votes by spear-heading initiatives such as these.

Comment author: DavidMoss 08 August 2018 02:14:47PM 2 points [-]

Very interesting project! Have you engaged with the work of Rupert Read at all? He's a philosopher in the UK, Green Party politician, think tank chair and sometime critic of EA. He's written a paper (2012) arguing for a body, building on the Hungarian ombudsman example, who would aim to act as a proxy for future generations, review and potentially veto legislation deemed harmful to their interests.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 09 August 2018 08:47:59AM 2 points [-]

Thanks, David!

I have not, though Jones et al 2018 has (this is the paper written by the same people who worked to set up the APPG in the UK). They say of the Read proposal that "We encountered several ideas which we do not include above, for various reasons. One of these is the proposal for a “third house of parliament”, or “Guardians”, made by Rupert Read (Read 2012). Under Read’s proposal these Guardians, appointed randomly amongst citizens on the same principle as juries, would have the power to (a) veto new legislation that threatened the basic needs and fundamental interests of future people, and (b) force a review of any existing legislation that threatens such needs and interests. He also suggests similar structures within local governments. As we found previously, institutions with veto powers did not last long, and as such we do not think this “third house of parliament” would be workable. In addition, we share concerns raised by Michael Bartlet about the proposed method of selection by lot (Bartlet, 2012)."

To give some context on veto powers not lasting long, the Hungarian Commissioner was removed with four years and the Israeli commissioner lasted about five years. Both of these had quite strong powers that they actually used, which seems to have made them politically controversial and had them removed after the next election.

Another crucial point here is what types of policies you think are going to be most impactful to work on. If you want to focus on environmental issues, I can see the allure of institutions that are given a lot of power. The bottleneck is not agenda-setting but rather closer to the right bills not being voted through. If you're more concerned about other GCRs, institutions or tweaks focusing on agenda-setting will be more interesting, such as the APPG.

Comment author: ole_koksvik 09 August 2018 01:00:23AM 3 points [-]

This was a really good, clear write-up; I found it very interesting. Thank you.

I have a couple of questions. If you want to reply by just telling me to read the full write-up: fair enough.

  1. There seems to be some potential overlap between A, B, and D. Could the Future Commission, or the Ombudsman, be used for oversight on other parliamentary committees, i.e. that part of their remit be to check that other committees discharged their responsibility to take future generations into account?

  2. Do you have thoughts on how you would go about pushing for a Future Commission?

  3. Do you think there'd be value to do some opinion polling on support for a Future Commission, and an Ombudsman?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 09 August 2018 08:29:57AM 1 point [-]

Thanks, Ole!

  1. Yep, I would say there is definitely overlap. At the very least between the Ombudsman and the Future Commission. They would both serve as checks. I think (and am not sure whether the others in the project would agree with this), we do not need to think about all of these as a package. If I could wave a magic wand and implement a set of institutional changes, I would likely be in favour of a different package. Instead, we've recommended things that fit well together where we would be incredibly pleased if one or two would be implemented.

  2. One of the main things we're doing now is thinking about how to get to implementation of these recommendations. My view is that we need to keep building a coalition with other organisations (e.g. environment-focused think tanks). On top of this, we need to keep finding allies among the MPs.

  3. I think that's a great idea! We'll likely spend the next few months taking a step back and deciding on how we're gonna be pushing for our recommendations. One really simple communications tactic would likely be to do some polling.

Comment author: SamDeere 30 July 2018 09:42:36PM *  13 points [-]

The grant payout reports are now up on the EA Funds site:

Note that the Grant Rationale text is basically the same for both as Nick has summarised his thinking in one document, but the payout totals reflect the amount disbursed from each fund

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 01 August 2018 09:51:52AM 2 points [-]

There are links missing from the EA Community Fund post to the OpenPhil writeups on 80k and CEA.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 24 April 2018 08:14:10AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for this, Joey!

I'd be very keen to see more thorough data on this, for example: 1. To what extent is 80k's pivot away from recommending Management Consulting due to value drift? 2. My impression is that one of the reasons to focus less on GWWC has been attrition (i.e. value drift in these terms). Does anyone have access to those figures? 3. Would e.g. CEA or 80k be able to carry out a retrospective study on this? 4. Even more awesome would be to conduct a longitudinal cohort study on the topic.

Comment author: Ervin 04 April 2018 10:58:49PM 18 points [-]

Looking at the EA Community Fund as an especially tractable example (due to the limited field of charities it could fund):

  • Since its launch in early 2017 it appears to have collected $289,968, and not regranted any of it until a $83k grant to EA Sweden currently in progress. I am basing this on https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community - it may not be precisely right.

  • On the one hand, it's good that some money is being disbursed. On the other hand the only info we have is https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1EjFHdfk3GmIeIaqquWgQI . All we're told about the idea and why it was funded is that it's an "EA community building organization in Sweden" and Will McAskill recommended Nick Beckstead fund it "on the basis of (i) Markus's track record in EA community building at Cambridge and in Sweden and (ii) a conversation he had with Markus." Putting it piquantly (and over-strongly I'm sure, for effect), this sounds concerningly like an old boy's network: Markus > Will > Nick. (For those who don't know, Will and Nick were both involved in creating CEA.) It might not be, but the paucity of information doesn't let us reassure ourselves that it's not.

  • With $200k still unallocated, one would hope that the larger and more reputable EA movement building projects out there would have been funded, or we could at least see that they've been diligently considered. I may be leaving some out, but these would at least include the non-CEA movement building charities: EA Foundation (for their EA outreach projects), Rethink Charity and EA London. As best as I could get an answer from Rethink Charity at http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1ld/announcing_rethink_priorities/dir?context=3 this is not true in their case at least.

  • Meanwhile these charities can't make their case direct to movement building donors whose money has gone to the fund since its creation.

This is concerning, and sounds like it may have done harm.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 20 April 2018 06:05:07PM 3 points [-]

Just noticed this, so sorry for the late reply! I (through EA Sweden) was the recipients of an EA Community Fund grant a few months back. I'll just say a few things about the grant, some general thoughts about the EA Community Fund and am happy to answer any questions you might have!

I'd say that there was a bit more information to go on than simply Will having seen me do EA group organizing over the past 5 or so years: I also provided a project proposal. However, I'd agree with the impression that the main factor in making the grant was about trust and first-hand knowledge of my work in the past.

If you wanna know more about what we've been up to, you can read our plans for the year (as of February) here: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1kf/effective_altruism_sweden_plans_for_2018/

Abstracting from my particular situation, there currently seem to be growing pains in the EA community building-space. My impression is that the bottleneck is not good projects to fund, but rather ability to consider proposals and allocate funds. I think making funding decisions in the community building-space based largely on trust and proven track record is a good heuristic. However, it won't be particularly scalable and so needs to be supplemented by more time-intensive methods.

Given the small size of the EA Community Fund, it seems unreasonable for Nick Beckstead to be managing it. Once CEA is able to allocate their EA Community Building Grants effectively, I'd recommend the EA Community Fund being allocated by CEA rather than Nick Beckstead.

Comment author: casebash 28 March 2018 01:59:58PM 2 points [-]

What's Givewell's CEA?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 28 March 2018 02:28:03PM 2 points [-]

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis :)

Comment author: casebash 23 February 2018 03:35:54AM 2 points [-]

Out of curiosity, how many local groups already have paid organisers and how do you think this compares with an additional employee at a non-local EA org?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 23 February 2018 08:07:29AM *  6 points [-]

The org's I can remember off the top of my head are: EA Sweden (that's me), EA Geneva, EA London, EA China, EA Netherlands (used to have full-time staff, but don't anymore) and EA Australia.

I'm excluding CEA, EAF and Rethink Charity here.

Comment author: SebastianSchmidt 10 February 2018 01:07:51PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for the post! I’ve two questions:

  1. Have you been concerned with how having one paid member of your Org could affect the volunteerism of the rest of the members? E.g. that there will arise a hierarchy which will keep “regular” members from taking on certain type of projects or feel as if they have less of a say in various decisions.

  2. Could you elaborate on the metrics you intend to use? E.g. by “the funnel of 80k” do you then mean their significant plan changes or how many of your members receive personal coaching from them? Also, how do you track the donations made to GWWC/EA Funds?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 12 February 2018 10:16:05AM 1 point [-]

Thanks, Sebastian!

  1. I think this might be a risk. Especially in a Scandinavian context where consensus decisions are really important. It also seems really important to me to avoid risks of feelings of resentment. My hunch is that this is mainly avoided by transparency and honesty, regarding e.g. where the money is coming from and what it's for. However, I think that effect is outweighed by other effects. I’ve seen people’s engagement in doing stuff for EAS go up since I started working full-time, partly since that means I can spend more time and energy into being a leader, encouraging and helping people to become usefully involved. However, with all of these things, people who have done this sort of thing for longer will likely know better.

  2. We intend to use IASPC, but also figures regarding number of coachings, referrals etc. Regarding donations, the idea is to get data on how many swedish donations go through EA Funds. In addition to this, we will likely collect our own data on impact as well through a survey.

Comment author: JonathanSalter 05 February 2018 02:41:17PM 2 points [-]

I think you might've meant Olle Häggström as opposed to Göran Hägglund ;)

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 06 February 2018 12:50:18PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the keen eye, Jonathan! Corrected now.

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