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Hi All, just seeing if there's a particular reason why development and growth for lower income countries is still lumped in with global health in the EA nomenclature (in the forums, the button only says "global health"!)

I think there's a lot of growing consensus that there is a lot of potential low hanging fruit that the EA community can do to increase growth in low and low middle income countries. By lumping these together it almost makes it seem that anything that is targeting these areas is only focused on health.

It would be good to see this distinction and more of a focus overall on global development priorities.




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I don't think these things are "lumped in" with each other as often as it might seem. Within EA, people typically use "global health and development" as an umbrella term when they want to cover work in both areas; it's understandable that this would look like conflating the two.

But "global health" and "global development" are often discussed separately as well. 

(Confusingly, much of the development discussion happens within the progress studies community, which overlaps heavily with EA in terms of ideas + the people involved, but has its own publications and Twitter threads and so on, which means the conversations often involve people in EA but happen outside EA spaces.)

I still wish there were more discussion of growth in EA and EA-adjacent spaces, relative to conversations about health topics, but I think the gap is less wide than it appears.

There's an "economic growth" topic on the EA Forum (under the parent topic of Global Health & Development). Is that distinct from what you mean by Global Development? 

In a separate but related vein, are there any organizations  / funds that are EA-aligned and working in this area? 

Wave is a good example.

Also Matt Clifford has written regularly about wanting to encourage more entrepreneurship and increasing growth

I agree that this should be its own field! I've noticed that I will often conflate the two for ease of speaking/writing. I feel similarly when I need to refer to folks that are not men and instead of saying women/nonbinary/trans, I will just say "women" for short. I don't like that I do this and have reflected on it extensively. I think it is because my brain is wired to prioritize getting my original thought out there instead of being sensitive to the nuances of a group's identity and structure. However, there is a lot that can be done to make the distinction more automatic and less cognitively demanding through setting/reinforcing social norms and environmental structure. 

I think having a "global development" button and category on the EA forum would be a low effort way to kick it off as a social norm and make it easier for people to start separating the two in their minds.

I think it's also a much more tractable switch than with gender since often when we refer to social groups, we usually want to be more inclusive. In EA NYC, we have a subgroup meeting for Women and Nonbinaries of EA NYC which we just have to abbreviate as "WANBEANY" and even that is not optimally inclusive because what if a trans man wants to join or what if a trans femme person doesn't want to identify as either woman or nonbinary? 

In the case of global health and global development, it would be good to talk about the two more independently since they have very different approaches to the same problem.

I've found a lot of professional overlap between groups focused on global health and groups focused on LMIC growth (low-and-middle-income country growth). Each group tends to be the biggest audience and best critic of the other approach.

I'm not sure if breaking out the topic would incentivize more attention of LMIC growth, but I do worry we'd lose some interesting discussion.


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The view seems to be fairly common among EA circles that global development is intractable, or very low in tractability. The best that can be done is global health work (although the idea that this actually leads to faster growth somewhere down the line is IMO very very poorly evidenced) or mass immigration to the West. 

Personally, I think this view is mostly wrong although bits of it are clearly true. Obviously there's nothing that EA can realistically do for development in South Africa or Argentina, countries with very different histories but completely screwed-up utterly hopeless politics. That said, most developing countries have institutions that are quite a bit more functional than this and there's a lot more to work with (even in somewhere like Nigeria, vide https://kenopalo.substack.com/p/on-why-i-remain-bullish-on-nigeria). That sort of work ultimately takes long-term cadre building in developing countries themselves since trying to import governance wholesale rarely works outside of (occasionally) authoritarian regimes, but the potential payoffs are of course absolutely enormous. 

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