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Getting money out of politics and into charity 2020-10-06T05:28:53.072Z · score: 80 (44 votes)

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Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-13T18:56:49.266Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Ryan, could you point me to "the funders behind Progress studies" you mentioned? I wasn't able to figure out what this refers to by googling. Thanks!

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-10T07:04:10.897Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. Basically the way I'm thinking about this in my head is: we have some effective charities, and some charities that are meant to encourage people to participate. If we end up getting 10 million in donations, only a quarter of which goes to effective charities, I think that would be a bigger success than getting 1 million in donations, all of which goes to effective charities. I'm thinking about the most effective way to get the platform off the ground, because if it doesn't get off the ground then no money will be sent to charities anyway, and at least my intuition is that it may be helpful to have some charities that are not effective but appealing. (On the other hand, what some people have said about people not wanting to choose between charities and being okay with whatever has made me update against this.) Do you think this strategy would be misguided?

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:45:08.916Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks! I agree we should talk to an expert on these sorts of things. Probably "sociologist or psychologist" isn't the right category though? I'd guess that talking to someone who specializes in political ads, voter turnout, etc. would be the right person to talk to. I'm curious what other people think.

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:43:57.494Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the thoughts. I agree that the first thing you point out is a problem, but let me just point out: in the event that it becomes a problem, that means that our platform is already a wild success. After all, I'd be very happy if our platform took out single-digit millions of money out of politics (compared to the single-digit billions that are spent). If we become a large fraction of all money going into politics, then yeah, this will become a problem, perhaps solvable in the way you suggest.

Regarding your thoughts on ads, that seems like a plausible hypothesis. But regarding matching funds going toward anti-polarization organizations: well, I'd be quite interested in that if there were effective anti-polarization organizations. And maybe there are, but I'm not aware of any, and I'm not super optimistic.

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:39:12.889Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

If we find such wealthy donors, we could match them against each other instead! But I suppose it's possible that we'd find donors who'd be willing to match with each other up to however much is contributed to the platform, as a way of raising interest. Like how cool would it be if Sheldon Adelson and George Soros agreed to this sort of thing? (I'm not even remotely optimistic though :P)

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:36:22.321Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, this is my biggest concern. I agree that this sort of platform is less likely to work now than a decade ago when the U.S. was less polarized. I don't really have strong counter-evidence to point to; but we are running some rudimentary informal trials to see if we can muster up any interest from donors on both sides. If those are successful, that will give me hope that this can work at scale.

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:32:55.027Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks! But yeah, I don't think we could get political parties to like us. Because ultimately parties do prefer that they and the opposing party have a billion dollars than they they both have no money, if only because the employment of party operatives depends on it.

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:31:02.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks -- that was really helpful! The 4x rule of thumb you mentioned makes sense and is good to know. We may contact you about collaborating; we're probably not yet at the stage where we'll be making this decision, but we'll keep you posted! And your "nudging" suggestion makes sense, especially in light of what Ryan Carey said about people hating choosing between charities.

I did find one thing you said a bit odd, which is that veterans' charities strike you as political. To me they seem fairly apolitical, as people all across the political spectrum support veterans (even if Republicans tend to feel more positively). I don't think a Democrat would feel negatively about someone donating to a veterans' charity. But I'm curious whether other people think veterans' charities are political. (Because I do think that we will ultimately need to make a concerted effort to appeal to Republicans, and this feels to me like a way to do that without alienating Democrats.)

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:23:16.615Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I agree this would be bad. I talk a bit about this here: https://ericneyman.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/incentives-in-the-election-charity-platform/

A possible solution is to send only half of any matched money to charity. Then, from an apolitical altruist's perspective, donating $100 to the platform would cause at most $100 extra to go to charity, and less if their money doesn't end up matched. (On the other hand, this still leaves the problem of s slightly political altruist, who cares somewhat about politics but more about charity; I don't know how to solve this problem.)

And yeah, we've run into Repledge++ and are trying a small informal trial with it right now!

Comment by unexpectedvalues on Getting money out of politics and into charity · 2020-10-09T05:19:20.929Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks! Yup, if we were guaranteed success, I agree it would be worth it. On the other hand, I don't know how likely that is or how much money we'd attract if we did get off the ground. We're trying to get people to participate in a rudimentary version of our platform to see how much interest there is in this sort of thing.

Thanks for recommending the funds. I'm not heavily involved in this community (yet) so I wasn't aware of these; we will definitely look into them!

I've thought about allowing matches besides 1:1, but this seems overly complicated. Seems like a much higher barrier to entry if a donor has to make the additional choice of "what ratios am I willing to match my money at." I agree the idea is appealing in theory though!

It's good to know that people hate choosing between charities. It seems like a good solution may be to have a default charity (as Sanjay suggested below) but still give people a choice.