A simple beg: please can you comment with some suggestions for which historical movements have relevance to our learning about effective altruism (and why you think so time permitting)?
UPDATE (based on early feedback from facebook/here): please pick why it relates with one salient aspect and explicitly state it if at all possible. Preferably in terms of its ambition and its relation to the rest of society / political structure. Thanks!
This exercise is aimed at understanding whether we can expect EA as a movement to be net positive, sustainable, coherent etc. and what kind of internal institutions or practices might need to be developed to increase our probabilities with respect to expected long term positive impact.
A friend drew a parallel between early christian church wrt roman empire and EA wrt modern liberal democracy. He was worried that the values drift in EA would be at least as large as that with the early church and its adoption by the roman empire, and later by other socio-political groups. I thought this was worth writing about - and want to see if there are other parallels like this that we can come up with collectively before exploring them a bit more.
There have also been two helpful posts on here recently. One, Ben West's piece on the value of reference class forecasting, and the other Owen Cotton-Barrett's article on the value of movement growth.
The first indicates that effective bench-marking is a powerful way to think about what will work going forwards. This, admittedly, is hard to do for historical movements as most movements the size of EA at the moment will probably have not been recorded - so there's a large class of 'failures' we'll never know about. However, I still think that getting a decent class and looking at how they developed and how society responded to them will tell us a lot.
The second outlines why getting a better understanding of movement growth dynamics is pressing, and indicates a few key questions that we will want to ask once we have our data: how wary should we be of controversy? How has gaining traction worked in terms of garnering inclination?