Are there any 'maximum egoism' pledges?

post by VictorSintNicolaas · 2021-06-13T18:46:32.595Z · EA · GW · 5 comments

This is a question post.

I think concepts like Founder's Pledge or the Giving What We Can Pledge are great and send out a positive message, but they are hard to commit to when you may want to reinvest earnings into particular businesses.

Instead of pledging a "minimum level of altruism" (I will donate at least X dollar or Y% of my income to charities) - are you aware of any communities which focus on a "maximum level of egoism" (I will spend at most X dollar or Y% of my income on consumption)? I'm only familiar with the World Equity Budget (through the wonderful book Strangers Drowning)


answer by Neel Nanda · 2021-06-13T19:50:25.099Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Huh, that is not what I thought you meant by maximal egoism

Giving What We Can have the Further Pledge, to donate everything above a certain threshold.

comment by VictorSintNicolaas · 2021-06-15T19:42:01.429Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for the swift reply!

I was actually looking for pledges which do not list donating to EA charities as part of the pledge requirements.  Apologies for not stating this context clearly enough!

comment by lukefreeman · 2021-06-15T03:10:08.659Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Neel! Yep, this is what Toby Ord does (and others also do so) and was the original conception of GWWC, however the minimum % seemed to be more popular and easier for many people to understand and calculate.

Replies from: Neel Nanda
comment by Neel Nanda · 2021-06-15T11:09:27.043Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Ah, interesting! I didn't know this was the original conception of GWWC. I'm glad that got changed! 


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comment by FlorianH · 2021-06-17T18:49:03.425Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I also wonder about the same thing. Further Pledge does not answer this particular desire of committing to a limited personal annual consumption while potentially saving for particular - or yet to be defined - causes later on. This can make sense also if one believes one's future view on what to donate towards being significantly more enlightened.

I could see such a pledge to not consume above X/year to be valued not overly much by third parties, as we cannot trust our future selves so much I guess, and even investing in own endeavors, even if officially EA, might at times be quite self-indulgent in some ways.

Still, I guess it would be possible to invest one's money into an EA-aligned fund that would later be able to disburse money only to aligned causes, incl. possibly your own project. That could provide some value in some situations.

Maybe it'd be easier, and worthwhile, to simply have an organization collecting pledges (and accompany one's verification of it) to not spend more than X/year; I think there might be a bunch of people interested in it.