Main Page Contact Register Log In

But are those smart people in finance making 80% of their potential contribution? 0%? -200%?

I think different people in Finance make quite different contributions.

Peter Thiel has two projects.
One is Clarium. A global macro hedge fund that among other things bets that the dollar devalues.

The other is Founders Fund that does investment in highly innovative companies and which is responsible for a company like SpaceX not folding.

Both companies are finance company but I think Founders Fund provides society much more value than Clarium does.

If you look at an area like insurance some companies make money by providing a service that people want other make profits by finding clever ways of not paying out claims.
Replies (0)

I think this depends greatly on other factors. Basically everyone would agree an EA working in finance who is earning to give is better than a more selfish investor. The composition of investors certainly is relevant to the original question about whether financial sector profits reflect real value. Most investors are not EAs. However, to steelman this, I'll assume you mean comparing smart investors with an interest in maximizing positive impact against smart people in other fields with an interest in maximizing positive impact.

And in this case, as I argued here, I'll suggest against that it's probably not necessary to work in a field where you maximize value, as long as you're close. I think this is what you're getting at. I doubt finance is close to maximizing value for most smart people. I think working directly is generally more impactful than indirectly, and I see finance as primarily indirect benefit (e.g., getting more money to spend on projects, rather than actually working on the projects).

I'm not sure it's possible to put a hard number on the value here, as this seems to be a decision problem with multiple criteria. I tend to uses decision methods which produce rank orderings in this case.
Replies (0)