I don't hear EAs doing this (except when quoting this post), so maybe that was the source of my confusion.

I agree Good Ventures could saturate the $5000/life tier, bringing marginal cost up to $10000 per life (or whatever). But then we'd be having this same discussion about saving money for $10000/life. So it seems like either:

1. Good Ventures donates all of its money, tomorrow, to stopping these diseases right now, and ends up driving the marginal cost of saving a life to some higher number and having no money left for other causes or the future... (read more)

REVISED: A drowning child is hard to find

by Benquo 1 min read31st Jan 202036 comments


Substantial revisions to clarify the post's core claim, including but not limited to this summary at the end:


  • Effective Altruism claims that there is a large funding gap for cheap well-understood developing-world interventions.
  • Even the most aggressive plausible construal of this claim implies an annual funding gap that could be covered completely by existing major institutional donors.
  • If this is true, it implies opportunities for comparatively cheap experiments (relative to the endowments of major donors in the space) with extremely high information value.
  • Such experiments have not happened either because they are impossible, or because the relevant institutional donors think they have better things to do with their money.
  • Neither scenario suggests that small donors should try to fill this funding gap. If they trust big donors, they should just give to the big donors. If they don't, why should they believe a story clearly meant to extract money from them?

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