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Covid-19 has reversed years of gains in the war on poverty

This coronavirus affects everyone, but not equally. The young often shrug off the virus; the old often die of it. The rich shrug off the economic shock; the poor cannot. Because of covid-19, the number of extremely poor people (ie, those making less than $1.90 a day) will rise by 70m-100m this year, the World Bank predicts. Using a broader measure, including those who lack basic shelter or clean water and children who go hungry, the ranks of the poor will swell by 240m-490m this year, says the un. That could reverse almost a decade of progress (see article). If a vaccine is found, economies will no doubt bounce back. But widespread vaccination will take years and the very poor cannot wait that long. By then, malnutrition will have stunted a tragic number of children’s bodies and minds.

Full article paywalled at The Economist

Shower thought:

A few years ago 80K did a survey with organisations asking about what they’d forego in donations for their most recent hire. I’ve seen this used as a justification for people not donating because “EA isn’t funding constrained”. As a hiring manager (who hasn’t yet hired for all our desired roles) and someone fundraising for an EA organisation (that still has a funding gap) I think that this framing is misleading. Other relevant survey questions would be:

  • What % of the candidates who applied for that specific role would you have hired for any role in your organisation if you had sufficient funding?
  • What % of the candidates would you have preferred that they donate ~10% of the listed salary to your organisation than hire them for that specific role?
  • Assume the top two candidates are choosing between this role and earning to give the difference between the NFP salary and their high earning salary: how much more would the first candidate need to donate to your organisation per year for you to hire the second candidate instead of the first?
  • All other things being equal and assuming a candidate is in a position to have been donating (e.g. mid-career professional), if you estimated that the 2nd ranked candidate was 5% worse at their specific technical skills than the top ranked candidate but knew that they’d been actively donating with an EA mindset for several years, which would you hire for this specific role? 

I’ll have to dig more into this later, but just leaving the shower thought here for now.

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