Felix Salmon

Adventures with quantitative philanthropy

By Felix Salmon
June 10, 2013

Quantitative philanthropy definitely seems to be a Thing these days. In the Washington Post, Dylan Matthews is writing about GiveWell and about people who are taking high-earning jobs just so that they can give more money away; in the WSJ, Brad Reagan is writing about John Arnold and his determination “to solve some of the country’s biggest problems through data analysis and science”. (Free version here.) And Columbia University Press recently published The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, a guide to the way in which philanthropies should use a framework called “relentless monetization” to guide where and how they spend their money.

Given how much I dislike philanthropy which is mainly designed to make the giver feel important, I ought to be happy about all these developments. But in fact, I’m quite conflicted.

Part of the reason is that philanthropy can not simply be reduced to dollar amounts. You can make a stab at doing so — and if you work for the Robin Hood Foundation, you will do just that. But Robin Hood is very clear that all it’s trying to do is create a way in which to compare apples with oranges, so that there’s a bit of structure under which to answer the “apple or orange?” question. If the Robin Hood quants decide that funding apples causes $4 of benefit while putting the same amount of money into oranges causes $5 of benefit, then they’ll chose the oranges over the apples. But they’re not saying that the apples actually create $4 of benefit: they’re just saying that given their mission, and the way in which they put numbers on such things, they prefer oranges to apples.

The Robin Hood people are very open about the fact that some other foundation with a different mission, or even a different set of quants at the same foundation making slightly different assumptions, could come to a very different conclusion. The quantification framework isn’t a way of replacing judgment with numbers; instead, it’s a way of helping people to be more explicit about exactly what assumptions they’re making when they choose one action over another.

This is my problem with the kind of philosophy Matthews is talking about; call it the GiveWell view. Here’s Matthews, explaining why a well-intentioned chap name Jason Trigg is working at a high-frequency trading shop:

Trigg makes money just to give it away. His logic is simple: The more he makes, the more good he can do.

He’s figured out just how to take measure of his contribution. His outlet of choice is the Against Malaria Foundation, considered one of the world’s most effective charities. It estimates that a $2,500 donation can save one life. A quantitative analyst at Trigg’s hedge fund can earn well more than $100,000 a year. By giving away half of a high finance salary, Trigg says, he can save many more lives than he could on an academic’s salary.

David Brooks does a good job of explaining how there can be something dehumanizing about such logic: there are good reasons to be suspicious of anybody who thinks that philanthropy can or should be reduced to dollar amounts or preset decision matrices. But there’s more going on here, and it’s worth unteasing the various different components of Trigg’s implicit syllogism.

First, there’s what you might call the Peter Singer imperative: “If it is within our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it.”

Second, we have the ability to turn money into saved lives. “Remember,” writes Matthews, “that giving about $2,500 can save one life from malaria.” Maybe the number is a little fuzzy: it might be $2,000 or $3,000 or even $4,000. But it is fair to say that if I spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on discretionary consumption, then there’s an opportunity cost to that spending — and the opportunity cost is dead people. They died of malaria, and if only I had given that money to the Against Malaria Foundation instead of spending it on booze and taxicabs and theater tickets, then those dead Africans would be alive today.

Third, there is no moral difference between directly saving someone’s life, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, spending an amount of money such that at the margin one extra life will have been saved. The moral worthiness of donating $2,500 to a malaria charity is exactly the same as the moral worthiness of jumping into a shallow pond to save a child from drowning. Both save one life.

Fourth, if you were walking past a shallow pond where a child was drowning, you would surely jump in to save that child.

Fifth, moral mathematics scales: if donating $2,500 and saving one life is good, then donating $5,000 and saving two lives is twice as good, and so on and so forth. If there are diminishing marginal returns on your donated dollar, then they’re small.

If you accept those five premises, then the conclusions rapidly and easily follow: not only should you donate the overwhelming majority of your disposable income to the Against Malaria Foundation, but you also have a moral imperative to maximize the amount of disposable income you have, just so that you can maximize the amount of money you donate and thereby the number of lives you can save.

But the fact is that when you disaggregate the logic in this way, you’ll find very few people willing to accept all five of the premises. I don’t want to wade into the realm of moral philosophy here, so let’s just concentrate on premise number two: the idea that there’s some kind of easy fungibility between dollars and saved lives. This is great as a marketing technique, and if you go through an elaborate quantitative exercise, you can end up at GiveWell’s “cost per life saved” conclusion:

Using the 2012-2013 cost per LLIN, we estimate the cost per child life saved through an AMF LLIN distribution at just under $2,300 using the marginal cost ($5.15 per LLIN) and just under $2,500 using the total cost ($5.54 per LLIN).

The Robin Hood Foundation is far from modest when it comes to its quantitative techniques, but never goes nearly as far as this. At Robin Hood, everything is based on conditionals: if you’re giving away a certain amount of money anyway, and if you have a certain mission statement, and if you make certain clearly-delineated but far-from-certain assumptions, then you will end up preferring this course of action to that one.

GiveWell, by contrast, makes a vastly bolder claim: that if you donate $2,500 to the Against Malaria Foundation, you will save a child’s life. It is entirely transparent in how it arrives at that conclusion, and is perfectly happy for people to quibble with its methodology. But by the time the claim makes it into the pages of the Washington Post, any minor caveats have fallen away, and the conclusion is taken as a simple statement of fact.

I believe that humility is of paramount importance in all philanthropy, and I worry that there’s not nearly enough of it at GiveWell. Malaria is a sexy disease: it’s probably second only to HIV/AIDS in terms of the amount of not-for-profit resources being thrown at it. Zoom out, for a minute, and look at national governments in Africa; at universities and other research institutions around the world; at national and international development banks; at huge philanthropies like the Gates Foundation or the Global Fund; at the philanthropic arms of the big pharmaceutical companies; and, yes, at smaller charities like the Against Malaria Foundation. Add it all up, and you’ll find thousands of people marshaling billions of dollars in resources. These people have been working for many years on trying to build effective strategies to minimize malaria’s footprint and, ultimately, to eradicate it altogether. Some of those strategies have been more effective than others, and the broad distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets is undoubtedly one of the better ones. Still, here’s the thesis that GiveWell would have you believe: you can be reasonably certain that every time someone donates another $2,500 to the Against Malaria Foundation, another child’s life will be saved.

I don’t buy it. It’s not that the Against Malaria Foundation isn’t an excellent, well-run charity doing an excellent job at distributing bed nets. In and of itself, distributing bed nets is a good thing to do, and it should, on balance, be helpful the fight against malaria. The Against Malaria Foundation is a worthy cause, and if you write them a check, you’re not going to be committing any of the sins I railed against in December. What’s more, the amount of time that the Against Malaria Foundation has spent with GiveWell has surely paid huge dividends for them: thanks to the GiveWell seal of approval, they have received millions of dollars they would not have gotten otherwise.

But there’s something far too facile about putting a dollar amount on marginal lives saved. Even GiveWell says so: look at the blog post they put up in December, in which they tried to quantify the relative cost-effectiveness of their top three charities. Malaria is a lethal disease, which makes it almost too easy to try to put a dollar amount on lives saved. But attempting the same exercise for deworming is much harder, and they didn’t even bother trying for their third charity, which simply gives cash lump sums, unconditionally, to the poor. Basically, if you want to use GiveWell to help you find a charity where you can buy a saved life with a known number of dollars, you’re going to end up with a shortlist of one.

The Trigg syllogism, then, rests on an assumption which rarely obtains in the real world: that giving money to charity is something which can and will predictably save lives. Charities tend to do little to disabuse this assumption, because people who believe it are likely as a result to donate more money. But talk to anybody who actually works in development or for a nonprofit, and they’ll tell you the world is a lot messier than that. Most of the time, when we give money to charity, we can realistically only hope that our donation will make a positive difference at all; all too often, a marginal extra dollar, even when it’s given to an unambiguously good cause can cause more harm than good.

The purpose of GiveWell is to try to identify the charities where that doesn’t happen — the charities where your donation will do the most good and the least harm. Certain quantitatively-minded types consider that a very worthy cause, and I’d be one of them too, if I believed that GiveWell could really do that.

Instead, however, I think that GiveWell faces three very big problems. The first is model risk: although GiveWell is very open about the models that it’s using, there’s no particular reason to believe that they are robust; obviously, their recommendations are no better than the models used to generate them. The second is that GiveWell imposes a substantial burden on the large number of charities it investigates and doesn’t recommend; that burden carries a real cost.

Finally, and most importantly, there’s GiveWell’s built-in bias towards relatively small-scale, replicable and quantifiable interventions. (Robin Hood has the same bias, for the same reasons.) Such actions are an important part of the philanthropic universe, but the Robin Hood and GiveWell types have a tendency to become evangelical about the way in which virtually all charities should adopt such a framework, and that, I think, is a very bad idea, for reasons that Rob Reich explored in his Boston Review essay about foundations.

Reich explains that things like bed nets are public goods, best provided by the state. And that philanthropies are best placed to do something else entirely: they “can operate on a longer time horizon than can businesses in the marketplace and elected officials in public institutions,” he says, “taking risks in social policy experimentation and innovation that we should not routinely expect to see in the commercial or state sector.” He continues:

When it comes to the ongoing work of experimentation, foundations have a structural advantage over market and state institutions: a longer time horizon. Once more, the lack of accountability may be a surprising advantage. Commercial entities in the marketplace do not have an incentive structure that systematically rewards high-risk, long time horizon experimentation; they need to show quarterly results. Similarly, public officials in a democracy do not have an incentive structure that rewards high-risk, long time horizon experimentation; they need to show results quickly from the expenditure of public dollars in order to get re-elected. In contrast, foundations are not subject to earnings reports, impatient investors or stockholders, or short-term election cycles.

Foundations, answerable only to the diverse preferences and ideas of their donors, with a protected endowment permitted to exist in perpetuity, may be uniquely situated to engage in the sort of high-risk, long-run policy innovation and experimentation that is healthy in a democratic society.

It seems to me that the philosophy of GiveWell and Robin Hood runs directly counter to this philosophy: they require precisely the short-term results which are required also by the marketplace and by the state. As such, they are deliberately disarming philanthropies of one of their key structural advantages.

Both GiveWell and Robin Hood were founded by marketplace-friendly hedge-fund types — but then again, so was the Laura and John Arnold Foundation which falls squarely into Reich’s sweet spot, funding the kind of ambitious, risky, long-term projects with none of the predictability that GiveWell and Robin Hood require. The Arnolds — like the Gateses — take a scientific, quantitative view of the world. But that doesn’t mean they take a narrowly quantitative approach to philanthropy itself. Bill Gates has more than enough money to give a bed net to every living child in Malawi — but his ambition is greater than that. And while I have my quibbles with the way the Gates Foundation is run, I do applaud its ambition and the way in which it tries to do the kind of things that only a monster-size philanthropy could ever even attempt.

Jason Trigg, in this light, is not a moral hero equivalent to a man who has saved dozens of children from drowning; instead, he starts to look more like someone contracting a third party to provide a service which is probably best provided at the state level in the first place. There’s nothing bad about what he’s doing — far from it. But I do think that what he does is limited along a number of axes, and that if he spent less time working at high-frequency trading, and more time out in the field learning about the way that non-profit develop organizations work in practice, then he might develop a richer, more nuanced, and probably humbler view of what his financial contributions can and can’t achieve in reality.

Update: GiveWell responds, pointing to a 2011 post in which they made most of the points I’m making here, and in which they said that they were going to move away from narrowly quantitative estimates and towards a more holistic view of where money can be best spent.

7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Felix, I am an AMF donor who also works in finance, so this whole blogosphere debate has hit home. I think Trigg is admirable if a bit naive, as he takes his precepts to a much greater extreme than I think prudent. But much of the commentary about his story seems to start from a position of distrust of hedge funds generally and HFT specifically (never mind that it reduces spreads and isn’t hurting anyone – separate debate!) and look for ways to criticize his approach. While his philosophy is portrayed in a somewhat mercenary context, the criticism is stretched. No need to try so hard to find fault!

For your part, you seem a bit overly focused on the moral and financial accounting here. No need to split hairs. It’s not important whether the average cost of preventing a malaria death is $2500 (or $2000 or $4000, as you state). What matters is that there is an unmet need that you are aware of and have the ability to address. LLINs happens to be a particularly well-documented and straightforward means of helping reduce deaths from malaria that both suffers from a funding gap (which is also well-documented) and is easily addressable.

That doesn’t make it a morally superior charity to support, but on the margin it is probably the closest one can get to having confidence that donated funds will avert loss of life (in expected value). For the very particular philanthropic aim of maximizing measurable, near-term public health improvement per dollar, that’s about the best one can hope for.

By the same token, Give Well is an attempt – an imperfect one, to be sure – to identify unmet needs and organizations like AMF that can address them. I don’t agree with all their methodologies and find their approach to transparency a bit too influenced by Bridgewater culture for comfort. But they are performing a very useful function for those like Trigg who choose to direct their philanthropy toward causes with quantifiable outcomes.

Speaking from my own experience, adopting all five of your Singer-Trigg premises is hardly necessary to think the endeavor worthwhile. You really only have to accept #2; the others just argue the degree of imperative governing the decision to give and in what amounts. I find it odd then that you question the second point, which is the one supported by a great deal of unbiased research.

As I understand it, known numbers of nets (given shrink, misuse, distribution errors, etc.) are needed to cover known populations of individuals at risk of contracting malaria (given climate, living conditions, etc.). The funds to purchase those nets are lacking (given existing NGO resources, local government efforts, domestic funds). AMF will raise money only insofar as it has nets to purchase that are in demand. To me that seems pretty cut and dried. Better to question motives and future returns to scale once that gap has been filled.

Posted by loudnotes | Report as abusive

I just changed jobs, and during the process of deciding where I wanted to end up I thought a lot about what ways to measure if what I would be doing would be worthwhile. This meant struggling some with the idea of quantifying my positive impact on the world – going through periods of rejecting that way of thinking, and periods of accepting it. I think Felix rejects it too easily here.

First off I don’t think the debate over what I’ll follow Felix in calling quantitative philanthropy (QP) should be about whether its conclusions about how we should behave are true or false. That is way too ambitious. Thousands of books have been written and will be written on the topic (in broad strokes). But I think we can say something about whether QP is naïve or not – that is whether we can dismiss it without fully engaging with its very disturbing implications.

Felix, and the David Brooks column he links to, point to three potential ways that QP could be naïve: it could be naïve philosophically, it could be naïve psychologically, or it could be naïve regarding facts about causality. Let’s take these one at a time.

Is QP naïve philosophically? Brooks says yes, and he points to what he believes are two obvious philosophical truths that, he contends, it conflicts with. The first truth is that not only can actions be right or wrong, but people can be good or bad, and it is as important to attend to one’s goodness or badness as it is to attend to the rightness or wrongness of one’s actions. The second truth is related, and is Kant’s famous formulation that people must be ends and not means. But – neither of these truths are in fact considered obvious at all by anyone doing philosophy. They are highly contentious, and there isn’t even agreement about what something like “ends not means” means. Saying a philosophical theory is wrong because it conflicts with these points is begging the question, massively. It’s like saying that Tolstoy is better than Picasso because, obviously, novels are a greater art form than paintings. In fact, QP is basically a form of utilitarianism, combined with certain beliefs about the world (which we will get to in a moment). Utilitarianism is believed in (in differing flavors and with differing caveats) by many philosophers.

Felix also makes a gesture towards QP being philosophically naïve, although he comes from a different angle. His argument is a little hard to split apart (not because of anything wrong with it), because he creates a five part logic chain that mixes philosophical assertions and facts about the world. But I believe I am summarizing the philosophical argument correctly by the following: QP is dependent on the assertion that sins of inaction are as great as sins committed actively, this belief is in fact highly questionable, and thus QP is highly questionable (i.e. naïve).

If I have summarized Felix’s argument correctly, than I don’t agree with it. QP in fact depends on a weaker claim, one which I think is inarguable: that sins of inaction are in fact sins, even if we censor them at a discount to sins committed actively. Once you admit this, then QP will work fine, so long as you apply the proper discount to the utility purchased by “buying saved lives”, in the case of AMF. To see that the assertion that sins of inaction are in fact sins is inarguable, just imagine an extreme scenario along the lines of being able to save a million lives just by forgoing a penny’s worth of consumption.

Is QP psychologically naïve? Brooks argues yes, because trying to live in a way that quantifies the value of human life inculcates a set of behaviors/thought-patterns that will ultimately in a sense corrupt one, and lead one away from moral behavior. I’m going to dismiss this one quickly because I think that the way people think about moral issues is REALLY malleable, and that if we as a society took utilitarianism more seriously behavior aligning with QT would become much more common and in a strange way less “dehumanizing”. Also I place probably negative value on the virtue of having a “human” outlook on morality, given our track record. But I think there are some interesting arguments on the Brooks side and could be persuaded that I’m being too hasty on this one.

Now we come to the most interesting argument: whether or not QP is naïve about the facts. That is, is it just ridiculous to imagine that by spending X dollars we could be reasonably certain of saving a life? First off, I think we need to admit that there must be SOME figure of money that, if spent in a prescribed way, would have a near 100% chance of saving a life. If you gave someone a million dollars, they could afford to pay for many years of life-prolonging drugs for an HIV-sufferer who otherwise would have died of the disease – this is roughly equivalent to a life saved, I would say, and with near 100% effectiveness. I’m sure there are even better examples that I’m not thinking of. The point being though that we can’t flatly say “money cannot save a life” – we are left with trying to figure out how MUCH money it takes to save a life. Once you get there, I think you are no longer able to say that QP is naïve – you will have to engage in complicated arguments about what exactly it takes to save a life, how certain you can be about that figure, and whether as a whole action based around that calculation has a higher expected value than non-QP strategies; or you will have to try to go back to philosophical principles to reject QP, which again will not lead to a quick dismissal of the theory as naïve.

There is a standard objection to the idea of saying a life can be saved for X dollars, and that is to appeal to the idea of unforeseen circumstances. Let’s take the person saved from an early death from HIV as an example – what unforeseen circumstances might reduce the value we claim to be purchasing with our million dollars? Well, we might say that perhaps by reducing the perceived risk of dying from HIV – since we are creating the impression that there is a phalanx of rich people out there waiting to step in with free drugs – we are on the margin encouraging people to have less protected sex, and thus encouraging the spread of HIV, and thus causing more deaths than the single life we have saved. Or maybe we are actually causing HIV to develop drug resistance slightly more quickly than it would have otherwise, and thus hastening the outbreak of a mutated form of the disease that will cause untold suffering. I could go on but I hope the point is clear. The appeal to unforeseen circumstances makes it seem impossible to ever figure out if the life we are buying is not coming at too dear a cost.

However, there is an issue with the appeal to unforeseen circumstances, which is that it is VERY strong. Once you admit that a life cannot be considered saved, or any good deed considered done, unless every last potential consequence is mapped out and weighed, it becomes impossible to evaluate any action at all. Should I send my mother a card for her birthday? What might be the unforeseen circumstances? More seriously, should we put iodine in salt? Should we vaccinate children against the mumps? Should we try to curb carbon emissions? Looking at questions like these I think we quickly see that the appeal to unforeseen circumstances is TOO strong, and if we admit it as prima facie evidence against being able to save a life for a million dollars, we quickly lose any ability to apply any moral judgments at all. Surely SOME version of the appeal to unforeseen circumstances is appropriate, but only a weakened version; and once we accept that and begin to debate how weak, the idea that X dollars can save a life with relative certainty begins, I think, to look less and less naïve.

Therefore, all and all I do not think that QP is naïve. As I said at the beginning of this insanely long comment, that is disturbing. If QP might be correct, than it might be the case that many common activities are monstrous – buying a new laptop, for example, when you could have saved a life instead. Unfortunately this is a possibility I think we should take seriously. A world where leaps of creativity are what are most important to saving lives is more attractive than one in which the most effective tactic is rigorous self-denial.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

loudnotes, thanks for what you wrote in your comment above. I resonated with your response.

First I’d like to thank Felix for his article, and keeping the conversation going, which I think is very valuable. We want critical thinkers on both sides of these assertions.

I also agree with the sentiment that the concept of “X dollars saves a life” is a very rough concept at best. A worthwhile example that challenges this concept: I was chatting with a lady that worked for an organization during the Rawanda genocide, and they sat in a board room one day to try and calculate the number of dollars their NGO would need to “save a life” by providing things like food across the border for people escaping. They came up with a number and went to the public advertising it. Some time later, it became apparent that killers were crossing the border, getting food and care, and then going back into Rawanda to do further killing. Suddenly the calculation of “dollars per life saved” gets a bit more complex. Perhaps one even feels embarrassed for putting a number on it in the first place.

That said, I think doing our best to estimate these numbers is important. Yes, they are very rough guesses, and we can never even say with certainty that our efforts are net-postive. (heh, I punny) But a world full of noise and uncertainty doesn’t make quantification useless. Far from it. It just adds some well needed humility to our endeavors.

And as others have said, the “dollars per life saved” concept really isn’t the key concept here: It’s the sober realization that we have an incredible opportunity, collectively, and even as individuals, to help people who are suffering. It will take not just money — of course not — but it is an invitation to each of us to invest our time, our intelligence, our souls, into the pursuit of treating others they way we’d want them to treat us.

So let’s be humble _and_ earnest, and let’s not get side-tracked by imperfect quantification.

Posted by danielbigham | Report as abusive

People give for a variety of reasons: because they really care, want to support a friend, want to brag, or avoid taxes. Some give by volunteering, or inspiring others to participate. I applaud the discussion on how to make sure that dollars given have the biggest benefit possible. What is also important is that people and organizations are inspired to give. For this to occur, I would argue that individuals, companies, and charities require the proper arena to discuss, plan, and act toward addressing the issues they care about, and be able to do so with others who have a similar interest.

Perhaps it would be useful to consider “Quantitative Philanthropy” from a different perspective. Competition is a great motivator. If properly harnessed, competition can be used to encourage (okay, pressure) companies to increase their contributions, and that of their employees’, to charitable causes.

Right now there are numerous companies that truly care and materially contribute to the related causes. For example, Patagonia’s ‘1% for the Planet’ is a reflection of a true belief, and caring for the environment is deeply ingrained in the company culture. Unfortunately, many companies are not as ernest and merely view helping the communities they operate within as a necessary cost of doing business. Recently, I met with the executive director of a charity that helps the visually impaired. She said it clearly: “If one more company comes to paint that wall outside for a good photo opportunity, I’m going to go crazy!” Sadly, lots of companies are good at telling you what they have done. But, when it comes to really doing it and showing it, they are less capability.

To drive competition that generates the desired results (more giving), the key is to accurately measure the correct factors. So, I suggest for consideration, that we quantify what they and their employees have done, or contributed. It will not be perfect for sure, but we’ll at least then be able to compare one company to another, within an industry.

Simply put: Total Company Contribution equals (1) company donations, (2) employee donations, and (3) volunteer hours (which get converted to a dollar amount, using the average hourly wage.) Here is an illustration:

Total Company Donations: $7,500,000
Volunteer Hours: 750,000
Ave. Wage/Hour: $23
Est. Value of Volunteer Hrs: $17,250,000
Total Company Contribution: $24,750,000
Total Employees (or Sales); 34,400
Ave. Employee Contribution: 719 (contribution index)

By using this index, it would be possible to compare companies’ contributions, and the differences would be plain for everyone to see. And, of course, companies would then be under peer pressure to improve against a competitor, or else lose credibility to those buying their products and investors.

Bloomberg conducts analysis to track a company’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). It reports this data for a number of companies, since many investors want to factor in such variables when making investment decisions. The biggest indicator in the ESG matrix right now is environmental impact. In the second half of 2010, 5,000 unique customers in 29 countries accessed more than 50 million ESG indicators via Bloomberg’s screens. The index requires tracking many different reports, and is not as scientific as many would hope.

This index would not displace Bloomberg’s ESG. However, it would be much easier to track and verify, and has relevance to all companies, without an emphasis on those with carbon footprints. I think there is a good chance that this index could be accepted within the investment and corporate community.

For consideration and discussion.

Bradley Good, CEO OurGroup.org

Posted by BradleyGood | Report as abusive

I’m also an AMF donor, but one who works in development rather than finance.

Yes development is messy, but apart from just saying “oh it’s more complicated than that” I can’t actually see any real arguments here debunking the notion that spending $x,000 on bednets through AMF is very likely to save a child’s life. Saying that “oh but government should be doing that” doesn’t make it so. To Peter Singer’s analogy, do you not jump into the lake because there should have been a lifeguard on duty?

Posted by LeeCrawfurd | Report as abusive

To ‘make a donation’ to encourage human rights awareness visit http://www.giveindia.org/iGive-leadsngo you may also find multiple donation options of your choice

Posted by Ankit12321331 | Report as abusive

Doing a search for Wall Street or ‘derivatives’ I don’t see that anyone has questioned Trigg’s choice of career if his goal is to ‘save lives’. Walls Street’s risky derivatives (CDOs) were at least partially at fault for the 2008 financial collapse, leading to millions of unemployed, and including an increased suicide rate.

By participating in this system is Trigg enabling a system that will harm possibly more people than he will save? Especially given that he will be devising the algorithms that might increase the risks. The big pool of money that Trigg will be drawing his salary / bonuses/ etc. from is the same pool that is right now lobbying Congress to eviscerate Dodd-Frank and other attempts to restore the regulations that kept the banks in check for the last 80 years.

Posted by ChristoGilberti | Report as abusive

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