Broad vs. narrow interventions

Discuss the topic on this page. Here is the place to ask questions and propose changes.
2 comments, sorted by
New Comment

I think it'd be good to integrate ideas from, or at least a link to, this podcast episode: https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/ben-todd-on-varieties-of-longtermism/

In the first half, Arden and Ben talk about varieties of longtermism:

  • Patient longtermism
  • Broad urgent longtermism
  • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on existential risks
  • Targeted urgent longtermism focused on other trajectory changes
  • And their distinctive implications for people trying to do good with their careers.

I think it'd probably be good to replace the bednets example, because (a) these terms are usually reserved for longtermist interventions, (b) having one example be a near-termist one could obscure what the relevant difference between the examples is, and (c) bednets are also seen as having positive effects other than saving lives (though maybe saving lives is seen as the overwhelmingly most important effect; I can't remember), which could further obscure the broad vs narrow distinction here.

Basically, I think the distinction would be clearest if we use two examples that are both aimed at the same ultimate objective, but with one having its effects travel via fewer paths and steps.