Michael Plant: What are the best ways to improve world happiness?

by EA Global1 min read3rd Nov 20171 comment

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Mental healthPain and sufferingVideoHappier Lives Institute
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All plausible moral theories agree increasing the happiness of currently existing people during their lifetimes is intrinsically good. Despite, or perhaps because of, this agreement, surprisingly little work has been done to find out what the most effective ways to improve world happiness are. 

In this short talk, Michael Plant shares his current conclusions and identifies where more research is needed. He claims that, contrary to the apparent consensus within EA, poverty and physical health should not be the top priorities. He suggests we focus directly on mental health, pain, and what he calls ‘ordinary human unhappiness’ instead. He sets out some of the ways we might do that. Two promising options are (1) funding mental health charities in the developing world and (2) reforming drug laws to make it easier for doctors to use opiates to treat pain (in the developing world) and psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, to treat mental health (worldwide).

In the future, we plan to post a transcript for this talk, but we haven't created one yet. If you'd like to create a transcript for this talk, contact Aaron Gertler — he can help you get started.

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Hi there, I just started a transcript for this to take notes for a fellowship meetup, but haven't properly organized it: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MlRtFGrowuuO5GwXddTVCEhjnpVRCMROxC_jDaCEAjc/edit?usp=sharing