After taking the Introductory EA Program, my mind has been filled up with competing ideas. Since EA is about using evidence and reason to do the most good, I naively assume that extreme poverty, access to universal basic education, maternal and infant health could be well taken care of if legislations and government policies are EA-aligned.

Let's take for instance, zero hunger, and say at grassroots, state and the global levels we all commit ourselves to not allowing our neighbours go to bed with empty stomach. That sounds unrealistic, right? But not impossible! It is possible if we all commit to it. Coming back to the tremendous role our governments and intergovernmental organizations can play in shaping the future of humanity and the overall benefits that will ensue, I want to believe that EA principles can better inform government legislations and policies to do the most good. Just because they have the resources and the regulatory power to do it. It only requires a paradigm shift, nothing more and nothing less. It is just the same way as paying taxes.

We know where our taxes go, and consequently people will be willing to work for their governments ( EA-aligned presidents and soldiers might not go to war because they understand the sanctity of life for humans and non-humans) , individuals will be willing to pledge to donate a certain percentage of what they earn just like many currently do with Givewell and others , people will be willing to work with a company because they can make huge difference in others life with their time and talents , people will be willing to set up charities if at the end of the day it is to do the most good and make the world a better place. I am naïve, right?

Coming to EA Governance, it is possible because the core principles of Effective Altruism allow it:

  • no legislator will make law (law to acquire more nuclear heads or develop biological weapons) if the purposes of that law is to waste the taxpayer's money because the law was made based on scientific and longtermist mindset;
  • no government official will embezzle public funds because his commitment to others' well-being is paramount;
  • there will be less distrust and more communication between governments and their citizens because openness in governance is the norm;
  • there will be altruistic elected officials at the realm of public affairs if the motive for being in government is to do the most good because integrity dictates it; and
  • citizens and elected representatives will work hand in hand because they are moved by a collaborative spirit.

This is what EA Governance strives for: using evidence and reason to govern for the benefit of the present and future generations in the most effective ways . What more do we need to make our world a better place if not legislations and policies that are EA-aligned? This is a case for EA Governance. If you are interested in exploring these ideas more, feel free to drop your comments, or if you are interested in seeing the idea of setting up EA Governance as a charity, kindly reach out to me : salifou.alimi@gmail.com

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I agree that there's a lot to like about this vision. Some of my own work aims in this direction (see Ruling Ourselves if you're interested). Tractability is a major concern however. Major changes like these may very well be possible, but it's very difficult to demonstrate (huge burden of proof) that particular actions can create a world like this. To develop these ideas further, I suggest taking the part of this vision that excites you most (perhaps part that seems more important and tractable than the rest) and really dig deep for a while. It is really useful to understand why a particular governance system has ended up in the equilibrium that it's in. This kind of insight can enable effective work.

Thanks Ben_Harack for these insightful comments. I agree with you. Traceability is a major challenge. I will go for the low hanging fruits as you suggested. How I wish we could make it work soon. Thanks for sharing this link (Ruling Ourselves), it is interesting. I look forward to getting to know more about it.

Thanks