Comment by Griffin on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-09T19:20:20.300Z · EA · GW

Thanks again for being a truly gracious forum operator and tolerating my complete lack of insight into your world(of EA).

I was working on this as a post when I saw your reply, and frankly I'm glad I did see it. I have conviction in the veracity of my plan,( I can hear your internal screams saying "what plan? I need details", and I'm going to try to give you everything in this post, so you can decide for yourself), but I am no great mathematician or economist and I'd probably get torn to shreds out there. On a meta EA level, and on a node of human consciousness reaching out to another node of human consciousness level, I humbly ask that you sort the following, smattering of my consciousness, for the alpha gamma and beta of it all. 

I offer and accept truth and honesty freely, without interfering emotion. I hope you won't use my free admittance of pathos and ethos, to dismiss my logos out of hand. I am untrained, undisciplined, I am only one, of at least 20, it would  take to make this a reality, but I am also convinced, that I have stumbled upon worthy fundamental truths, of this world. If not original, original at least through this modern lens. I claim no perfect mind, but the circumstances of my life have granted me waves of epiphanies. 

12 years ago I lost the capacity for interpersonal human connection, within and without the family, 6 years ago my father died from a niche disease. Without my knowledge my singular mission became, to find a way to fund and cure all diseases, because I never had the chance to connect with my father and it wasn't the universe's call to make. But, even if I could be satisfied accomplishing or fighting for this alone, my deep connection to the sea of human consciousness would not allow me to step over or on, those whose suffering could be remedied cheaper.

 For years I was tortured by this singular, insurmountable, goal, but now my captor has become the fire within my soul. I have shed shame and ego and found that we are us all, every single one, but a single cell of one being. I saw the conjunction of Physics, Philosophy and every human discipline. Upon my realization of the path we will walk, as one being, to a perfect stable future, I fell to the ground weeping, for the horizon of my mind had been made boundless. I saw not just a perfect future, but the stepping stones that we must utilize one after another with diligence. I looked up at the night sky through my window, I felt the hunger of those who had gone to sleep in lu of diner, and I knew that on the other half of the earth millions were waking from a night of the same, hoping for relief and opportunity, but finding none. The tears  streaming my face were of joy and sorrow in equal measure, for I knew the task was still unimaginably great and terrible and so I begged forgiveness from those who I now intend to lift up, for not having started the fight sooner, and for the decades that will still see much suffering.  

I saw through blurry vision, that must be made clear with help from others, an equation so pure, honest, clean, and humane that I knew it was as a warrior would describe the art of the sword. It belongs to no one person, group, or nation. It must be ratified true by groups that verify and create such programs. But then it must be able to be taken up by any community, town, or city individually.

This is the first version I came up with, designed to lift up a struggling city or town and build the foundations of a utopia.


The claim is that if a city has a sustainable income dedicated to hunger and homelessness relief, derived from a one time investment, the city will prosper and be able to dedicate more resources to creating sustainable income for local vital relief programs. Eventually it will become economical to treat even lack of healthcare and addiction treatments. Because all other programs have been adequately funded 

     A fund will be established to receive 8 million dollars.

     With 6 million dollars, up to date solar panels and home battery systems, will be installed directly on residential homes and apartments, who have applied to the program. Costs estimated at $40,000 to $75,000 per home outfitted with the system. (30khw panel at $20,000 and 10khw battery system at $1,000 per KWH battery capacity $5,000 per install)

     The electricity from the systems will be sold to the residents for half to 3/4ths of the current market rate per KWH locally.  Meaning if the program participants monthly electricity bill was 50 usd, it would now be 37.5 usd per month. Its the discount in this monthly utility cost that is the "subsidies" the program effectively retains ownership of the solar systems like how cable providers used to or still do "rent their tv box to consumers" except this is a boon for the participant.

     The proceeds will go directly and entirely to local effective hunger relief, (the system to determine "effective" must be perpetual and include everything from Financial compliance audits to high school newspaper club investigative journalism) for a period of time no less than one year.

     After that time, it will continue to allocate as such, until it is determined by the city and citizens that proceeds may effectively combat an additional, real and present situation of suffering.

     A change in proceed allocation can only be sought through city/town ballot measures. Unless a local state of emergency is declared. At which time, the funds may be allocated by the city governance, not the state.

     Annual proceeds will be determined by factors including, local climate, current and projected local kWh market rate, number of systems installed, and amount of subsidy offered to the participants. Annual proceeds on this scale may range from as little as $100,000 to as much as $400,000.

    Selecting an ideal environment for the initial program will be vital to establishing its credibility and capacity for positive outcomes. The remaining 2 million will be reserved to remedy any installation and administration challenges but every withdrawal from the account must be confirmed by the city council or other transparent city body.

Upon finishing this work I wanted to drop it in a billion flyers from the skies of the world. If just 5? cities within a region came together they could shoulder the burden of the initial investment one at a time, until all had been lifted up. Imagine if a nation came together to fund this one community at a time. But now I know I must prove to those who care about pure Logos that I am right first, that then the world may be made to see.


This is my claim: if a system can be devised and proven to be an exponential multiplier of impact such that it becomes feasible we could eliminate all combat able suffering in our lifetime, then it becomes the moral imperative to act thusly. 

The nature of suffering, both cause and effect, is a lack of energy, and lack of the opportunity to reasonably acquire that energy. The allegorical pushing of the boulder up the hill, is simply the process, and personified difficulty, of acquiring the necessary energy for a given amount of time. My ultimate goal is that of leveling the hill on a global energy scale. With enough electricity we could desalinate water and grow plants of every season in hydroponics warehouses along every cost, sustainably.

Chemical energy in the form of food, electrical energy for everything from growing crops to manufacturing components into products, and fossil fuel energy used for transportation and creation of most electrical energy. All of these regulated through currency that has consistently grown weighted to one side of the scale. (I consider this an increasing well being existential risk, but thinking that is not necessary to entertain this idea.)

The nature of my theory of everything argument is that we can build an electrical aqueduct that will stand for years and provide energy surpassing that which created it. This energy can be used directly to relieve suffering originating from a lack of energy or converted into money in the places most profitable and reconverted to the necessary energy to remedy the targeted suffering.

We now have the technology to make a one time investment that takes energy freely from the sun everyday. That can be put in the regions where they could produce the most money [1], to pay a monthly sustainable income to the desired charity. I am no expert in solar technologies, many claim to pay for themselves in five years. Assuming five years more than that, which is what my laymen math came closer to than five, it is still undeniable that so long as the solar panel pays for itself, before it gives out, and all of that money was directed entirely at the charity that would have received the lump sum money, then the solar panel multiplied the effect of the charity, by combating climate change, promoting development of true renewable energy, and potentially going on to continue to produce income for the charity. Its like money laundering but only good stuff happens. I mean that not only as a joke, but to point out that the existence of destructive spirals in the world, leads me to believe that an exponential positive spiral is the only force that can create a stable "positive-long-term future." I'd be happy to be informed about the emissions of manufacturing the panels and batteries themselves and factoring that into the true "payed for itself moment." 

Rather than running a business for the sole goal of making money to donate, this idea for a, (501(c)3)? again just one of 20 needed to figure this out, prioritizes both the intended and unintended consequences in both the decades long term and the true long term. I won't claim to have done a deep dive into sunwealth, but they are operating as solar farms, and I'm saying keep the equation as simple as possible by not having to deal with infrastructure and just putting the panels on houses who want them and sell the power to them directly.  

 I'm hoping to hear many, many oppositions about the lack of unintended consequences and everything else. Displacement of sectors, doubts about the veracity of solar technology to meet these goals, slippery slopes, and countless others that my perspective hasn't yet offered or might not ever offer.

But I believe that every attack on this concept, will help discover and create the holy grail of altruistic endeavors. When you bring your mental sledgehammer to the walls of my idea, I humbly ask that you bring brick, mortar, and the tools of masonry to rebuild it together, stronger. Let this space be a true modern forum, where humanities most valuable infinite resource can be thrown against itself to discover truth. Please don't hesitate to speak your mind. Imagine if a hive mind were possible, and we could attack reconstruct and attack again, in a matter of moments, these ideas. That clearly isn't practical this century, so we'll have to make this work. If you don't have anything constructive to say, say all the destructive stuff your thinking, so long as you actually read this all. 


Here's a framework for how I imagine this could go down with regard to EA.

501(c)3 formed or one agrees to work on this.

501(c)3 says "who in these high electricity cost states [1] would like free solar panels and battery systems installed on their residence, with the understanding that the solar energy will be provided to you, for 75% of your regions current local kWh price? Meaning that if your avg monthly bill was 50 usd it would now be 37.5 usd, assuming that the capacity of the panel and battery system meets individual demand." The residences will remain hooked up to the grid to receive power, if the battery runs out at night, as well as, to sell excess electricity to the grid, after filling the attached battery for the day. Put all the legal disclaimers at the bottom. I.E if you sell the panels and battery systems, we gonna sue you as though you stole malaria nets from children.

501(c)3 compiles list of applicants and chooses the first state to operate in. If a state wants to work with the nonprofit great, if not no problem. The main factors are the local annual sunshine metric, the local current and projected kWh price, the investment dispersal between panels and battery capacity, and ensuring that it only considers applicants receiving polluting energy.

Brace yourself for how much this is going to sound like a money laundering scheme. Again I truly believe that the only path to a sustainable "positive long term future" is to create a sustainable positive exponential growth system.

501(c)3 partners with givewell or similar program to offer the option, to pay your donation to them, through buying solar systems, that then generate income monthly with a myriad of other positive side effects, and likely will out preform the lump sum investment option, by a multiplicative factor. (I know all of those words raised hairs, and rightly so, but an exponential positive growth system is the only way to shoot the moon of altruism, and for Sagan's sake I'm one 21 year old, asking for other people to build this with me, not bernie madoff) And I'm not proposing an over night exodus to this system. Stability is built over time. I would guess that as little as an annual .5% of world donations could make this program explode positively, in a decade. 

Prediction: charities begin to see the effect in a decade. as the statistical distribution of the lifetime of the solar panels and overall systems becomes clearer, it shows that while some only last a few years after "paying for themselves" others go on for as long as 2 decades, and the development inspired by the program, leads to greater technological advancements in the field. Continued with deliberate guidance this system is able to account for its own footprint in the overall world ecosystem and mitigate or at least logically outweigh any consequences. 


Any negative disruptions in the fossil fuel energy economy, from taking these actions, I would argue were only inevitable. But I don't dismiss them and I do think it would be important to consider the speed and scale of disruptions.

By the time that electricity drops drastically in value, the world will have been so improved, that a world wide network of desalination and hydroponics warehouses become the logical inevitability along every coast, and with cheap electricity that water and food can be transported inland cleanly.


Thank you for your time and thoughts,


Comment by Griffin on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-08T00:33:52.085Z · EA · GW

I find I enjoy discovering other people's ethos, logos, and pathos, Which I would describe as an ineffable series of lenses through which we view the world around us, but we can always pick out a few lenses that we know we have. I offer some stories from my life, completely antiseptically, that have shaped my major lenses. 

I grew up in northeastern Tennessee, in the good ole Appalachian. I was the second child and son of two college graduates, who for, as long as I can remember, shared no great passion of one another. For my entire first 10 years, that would be the only thing I could complain about and perhaps suggest that, if forced to deal in absolutes, one might benefit from walking in on parents copulating, rather than live in home with no PDA at all, or any discernible love beyond mutual cooperation for the household.

On the first week of 6th grade, my group of friends tried to convert me. Looking back, they  had likely just came back from an, after fifth grade summer camp, where they had ramped up the rhetoric, and I haven't held ill will for them in many years. The jarring thought of there, literately being a boundless eternal torture chamber for anyone who didn't meet a criteria that included, being born within the geographical region of the proper religion, was amplified by the fact that, to my retrospective befuddlement,  I had completely avoided ever thinking about, or being exposed to any religious ideas, until this point.

I had no idea what my parents believed so i didn't feel able to talk to them. So within a week of the first discussion, I had stumbled up the original cosmos. More than 3 decades after its airing, and more than a decade after Carl Sagan's death, this work of science and art gave an 11 year old the ability to think of earth, as the pale blue dot, and so many other wondrous concepts. From that point on I hung out with the same group because I thought everyone in my region held these beliefs, but I was no longer really swimming with the fishes. I was an analytical outlier, a semi self contained submarine.

Upon losing the ability to have depth in my personal connections, I inevitably drifted towards concepts of wider oneness. Such as "for whom the bell tolls" and other contemporary concepts of the topic. 

When I was 15 my family learned that my father had ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. We didn't have any grand emotional connection as a family, before we lost him 4 days after my 16th birthday. Upon ruminating on the lack of research and resources dedicated to niche diseases and my understanding and belief of oneness, though I did not realize it at the time, I set out to discover or create a "theory of everything" for altruism if you will. To create a system, which would allow for the use of funds to research and cure these diseases even in an utilitarian moral view. 

The only way to accomplish this would be to eliminate all suffering that could be remedied cheaper, a huge order yes, but what the human mind can imagine, it can achieve. I contend that my conceptual proposal should be vigorously attacked, examined, and or, re imagined, to further pursue this goal. I seek a group to bat this idea around with, and experts who can attest to specific x values for all the necessary variables of a case study proposal. 

Thank you, for your time and thoughts.

Griffin Winkle

Comment by Griffin on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-07T21:09:43.666Z · EA · GW

Just realized I may have violated the "EA's should" rule of thumb.

I don't mean to hijack ideas or claim to understand philosophies better than those who hold them. I truly believe an open back and forth could refine my concept and help me construct a real plan based on specific locations and other variables.

Thanks again, I may go ahead and try to build the foundation of a proposal based on real variables.

Comment by Griffin on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-07T19:49:13.755Z · EA · GW

Thank you for your timely response.

let me first boil everything down to its simplest terms, then I may dive into a specific case study proposal.


To my way of thinking, this is the marshmallow test of altruism.

If someone said you could invest 6 million usd in the most effective charity, (30 million lives saved?),  or invest 6 million usd in a solar energy business model that produces 300,000 usd per year for the same, most currently effective charity, as well as, having at least some level of impact on co2 emissions, which would you choose?

  Given the belief that future suffering is as valid as current suffering, I believe it makes sense to go with the solar option.  My humble rebuttal to this not being a neglected area would be, no corporation would ever operate this way. The most any corporate solar venture would benefit society, would be the slight reduction in fossil fuel based energy consumption. In this model that is only a side benefit. 

Thanks for entertaining my idea and being a gracious forum operator. 

Comment by Griffin on Open and Welcome Thread: January 2021 · 2021-01-07T09:14:34.792Z · EA · GW

Hello all, I've known about Effective Altruism for years, but have decided it’s time to get involved.

I apologize ahead of time for my overall lack of knowledge about the breadth of ideas and suggestions that are entertained, But I personally know that thick skins and good faith arguments can produced refined concepts. As any group who has sat down and hammered out homebrew dnd rules can attest. (a joke and also not a joke) 

I have taken a short, surely inadequate, I preeminently grant, examination of some core ideas and I believe my suggestion is worth at least, an explanation based dismissal. With that I offer my case for an Effective Altruism program.  

I seek to combat climate change, extreme poverty, and eventually a myriad of other dire situations, under a single framework.

step 1. Fund 6 million usd

2.  Install solar panels and home battery systems on residences and apartments whose occupants, have applied for and been accepted into the program. One county/region at a time. I'm arguing the concept, but I'll provide a figure as a starting point to be argued up or down.  Per home cost estimated at $35,000-$70,000. ($20,000 for 30 kWh panel and $1,000 per battery 1kWh capacity. $5,000 per install) (2 panels and 25kHw battery capacity for 4-person home)

3. Sell the solar electricity to the program participants, at a subsidized rate of up to "half off" of their current local kWh price. 

4. In addition to this source of income, the panels will also sell excess solar energy back to the grid, after filling the attached battery for the day.

5. These funds can be directed entirely to the desired effective relief, on a monthly basis. Marketing the program to potential residents could be based on the intended charity to increase willingness to participate with lower subsidies for themselves, and could also generate more engaged effective altruism members.

6. Calculating total proceeds and overall impact: no expertise here, but I can surmise some of the factors. Including, but probably not limited to, Local, current and projected, kWh price (this is the big one and is seemingly readily available info), local climate, the amount of the solar energy subsidy offered, investment dispersal between panels and batteries, and ensuring that those being provided solar energy, were previously receiving polluting energy. 

7.Again, I'll stake a starting figure for sake of encouraging discourse, from those with greater understanding. After subsidies and assuming 15 cents per kWh(expensive estimation for the states), I’ll say 300,000 usd per year. I'm not showing my math here cause I didn't do any worth writing down. concept here.

8. By virtue of the axiom "a penny saved is a penny earned" this program seems to me, to be virulent in a positive way. Again, sorry if these arguments have been covered, I humbly accept all good faith arguments and positions. 

"A carbon molecule not released into the atmosphere, that would have been released without your mitigation is a carbon molecule removed from the atmosphere.”

9. Calculate the dollar value of 1 carbon molecule removed from the atmosphere. 

10. factor that into the long-term estimates, of the value of this program.


Honest, good faith question, does this idea fit with longtermism? 

I know persuasion isn't important here, but I offer these heart string tugs to suggest that this program could be used to create an informed and engaged population, who go on to perpetuate similar good work. If I could speak to those suffering from plights, great and small, I would offer this statement, in humility for all those with power.

"I wish I could say that we’re just now dropping the ball, on short term relief, to invest in a system that will hold the ball for generations to come, but the truth is we haven’t ever held the ball, in a truly adequate way. I ask forgiveness on the world’s behalf as we diligently plant the seeds of prosperity, that will lift up all peoples, given time to bear fruit.”