Monday, November 14, 2022

When Altruism Goes Bad

The world's leading proponent of effective altruism is Sam Bankman-Fried. A month ago he was worth $10 billion. Now he is broke.

Where did it go? He was the second largest contributor to the Joe Biden 2020 campaign, after George Soros. And he apparently made a lot of risky crypto-currency bets with customer money.

Before the collapse of FTX, he had spent around $40 million during the midterms to boost a range of candidates, most of whom were Democrats. His contributions made him one of the top donors of the election cycle, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks campaign finance data.

He gave a large portion of his donations to Protect Our Future PAC, which describes itself as a “an organization designed to help elect candidates who will be champions for pandemic prevention.” The PAC did not respond to a request for comment from JI on Thursday.

Many of the candidates Bankman-Fried supported were also backed by pro-Israel groups such as Democratic Majority for Israel and United Democracy Project, a super PAC affiliated with AIPAC. He gave $250,000 directly to DMFI PAC last May.

But it is unclear if his backing of pro-Israel candidates was coincidental or motivated by any personal interest in Middle East policy. Bankman-Fried, who is Jewish, does not appear to have spoken publicly about Israel or the Middle East.

This isn't altruism; this is buying political influence.

Here is a review of a book on Pathological Altruism.

“Animal hoarders” are another example of PA. They fill their houses with “rescued” pets but fail to look after them. They declare their love for animals even as they step over the bodies of dogs and cats that have died of malnutrition. They often neglect their own health, living in tumble-down houses filled with animal filth. These people usually started out with a strong childhood attachment to animals but were neglected or abused by their own parents. They often start hoarding after they suffer some kind of personal setback, such as a divorce or losing a job.
Most people think altruism is a noble thing, but it can be psychopathy in disguise, or just a personality disorder.
Another theory about the origins of PA is that it can be seen as the result of an excessively female brain. Women are more likely than men to be co-dependents and have eating disorders. Girls are more compliant than boys, better behaved, and more eager to please. They are better able to figure out the needs of others. They are politically more “liberal,” and more likely to think that an important function of government is taking care of people. Low levels of testosterone in the womb during fetal development is associated with higher levels of empathy in both sexes.
Update: It now appears that FTX was taking aid to Ukraine, laundering it, and sending it to Democrat political candidates. This is unconfirmed, but it is possible, as we have no good accounting of either Ukraine aid or FTX assets.

Update: See the FTX Super Bowl commercial with Larry David.

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