All of Aaron Boddy's Comments + Replies

Ray Dalio's Principles (full list)

Hey there!

I've only recently finished the book, so don't have much advice regarding putting the principles into practice unfortunately... though hopefully someone else does and can comment here too :)  

A lot of the Principles relate to managing a bigger organisation than mine... Having said that I am trying to implement more robust decision tracking etc. in my org based on the ideas of thinking of your organisation as an optimisation "machine" to achieve a goal (and some of the suggestions he has in the book of how to do that)

The reason I pulled this ... (read more)

Introducing Shrimp Welfare Project

No problem, these are great questions!

And yes that's true, each stakeholder in the shrimp supply chain is usually driven by the demands of the next link (i.e. farmer - processor - importer - distributor - consumer). So when it comes down to it, often the distributor (retailer/restaurant etc.) can only make a change if they have reason to believe that the public is demanding change...

Though we are anticipating that we can make lots of progress before we reach public awareness as our limiting factor (the scale is just so huge!).

And we expect that in the mea... (read more)

Introducing Shrimp Welfare Project

There are lots of overlaps between welfare and sustainability, with a great overview provided by the Aquatic Life Institute [1] (we're hoping to publish a shrimp-focused look at the overlap of sustainability and welfare on our website soon!)

Our main concern is with super-intensive systems, in which many of these welfare issues are managed very well, but there are very high stocking densities. In less intensive systems, lower stocking densities can reduce stress and susceptibility to diseases, so we have a pretty good case for asking that they're reduced as... (read more)

3Guy Raveh5mo
Thanks for your reply! So as I understand it, public awareness may still be a limiting factor eventually, at least regarding high intensity systems, as it will be needed to back your asks from manufacturers that will no longer align with their sustainability concerns?
Introducing Shrimp Welfare Project

You've hit the nail on the head! The idea on the face of it seems so unusual, but once I talk through the scale, neglectedness and tractability of the problem, I've yet to find anyone who isn't convinced by it (except maybe my parents...)

I have been slightly bowled over by the number of people who have "got it", but as you say, this is largely because I'm talking to EAs. But even with non-EAs, describing welfare issues such as eyestalk ablation, dying of disease or suffocating due to lack of oxygen seems to be pretty well understood and hasn't come across as controversial...

We're really excited to see what lies ahead for us, and can't wait to see the progress you make on insect welfare! :)

Introducing Shrimp Welfare Project

Great questions!

Advocacy: You're absolutely right, that's been our impressions of corporate advocacy work too and we're currently not expecting to drum up grassroots campaigns, or do any significant work on public awareness. Our expectation as it stands is that we can frame the benefits of shrimp welfare as a lever for sustainability. The Seafood Task Force has managed to make shrimp supply chain improvements driven by retail largely without the buy-in of consumers [1]. In addition, we hope to enable corporations to be leaders in this area, as consumer aw... (read more)

3Guy Raveh6mo
Do sustainability interventions reliably align with welfare? e.g. can shrimps still die from asphyxiation/poisoning in this order of magnitude when the conditions are "externally sustainable"? Is there a risk of some practices (like bigger density) being more sustainable but worse for welfare?
A framework for discussing EA with people outside the community

I loved watching this talk, thanks for sharing!

It would be great to talk further about this idea (though based on your talk, it would seem you have already given way more thought to it than I have)

A framework for discussing EA with people outside the community

I love this! 

I think for me a real barrier is the fact that I barrel ahead with the ideas too quickly... like I want to jump straight in at the deep-end with "we should think of all lives as equally important and we should be trying to consider the ways our donation can go farthest" - that idea on its own maybe isn't controversial, but probably hasn't engaged my conversational partner in the same way as in your example.  

One of the main motivations for me writing this post was to have a mental checklist when discussing EA so that I don't barrel a... (read more)

A framework for discussing EA with people outside the community

Ahh that's really interesting to know!

But yeah, I definitely would feel a bit manipulative if I didn't feel like I knew the person properly - I want to present to them ideas that I think they'd really engage with and would interest them, rather than giving them the impression I'm trying to force a viewpoint on them

A framework for discussing EA with people outside the community

We are actually going to discuss this article at my local university group next week, so it would be interesting to consider how we might apply the ideas to the group - thanks for the suggestion! :)

Believing in things you cannot see

I found this really interesting and the difference between realization and belief reminded me of the Toyota Production System's concept of Genchi Genbutsu ("real location, real thing" or "go and see"). It basically states that you cannot be sure you really understand any part of any business problem unless you go and see for yourself firsthand - It is unacceptable to take anything for granted or to rely on the reports of others. 

AaronBoddy's Shortform

How bad is it to exploit bees?

I agree that taking action to improve the welfare of farmed bees is positive.

But with other farmed animals such as chickens/pigs/cows, a significant goal to aim for is to ultimately bring fewer of those animals into existence in order to reduce overall suffering. 

But is that also the case for bee farming? Or do we instead want to increase the number of bees we farm because we need to increase commercial pollination services for a greater good? And if so, even if we weren't to intervene in bee welfare in any way, would we ... (read more)

I really like how you're using your shortform to ask these small, well-formed, interesting questions!

(I don't have anything useful to say here, I just wanted to give this my 👍.)

Is it possible to calculate the net utility (positive or negative) from bringing one suffering bee into existence?

I doubt it, but if so it would make a great unit of measurement.

AaronBoddy's Shortform

This is great thanks I hadn't considered this! I found the Zvi post you're referring to if anyone else is interested.

Do you know if there has been any work to try and quantify this added value from Amazon? (Like in Meatonomics, David Robinson Simon discusses the hidden costs of meat, so a $4 Big Mac really costs society $11, so that extra $7 cost is absorbed by society). Is there any potential to calculate something similar with Amazon? e.g. every $1 someone spends on Amazon typically saves the consumer/society $X. 

I'm not an economist and I know that... (read more)

AaronBoddy's Shortform

How bad is Amazon?

So there are a lot of reasons people don't like Amazon. It exploits its workers, it fights tax laws, it has a significant environmental impact etc.

But is Amazon net-negative from a consequentialist point of view, or is there a net-positive impact of Amazon? My rough thinking is:

  • Jeff Bezos has projects such as Blue Origin which might be positive for longtermism.
  • He recently donated $10billion to Climate Change with the Bezos Earth Fund (and this may continue?).
  • He has been interested in some other short term philanthropy in the past. His ex-
... (read more)

I think you've left out the most important point: net positive effect of Amazon as having generated trillions of dollars of value for its customers, suppliers, and employees.

  • Customers gain from having a streamlined reliable online ordering experience, with fast delivery times, large body of reviews, and friendly dispute resolution policies
  • Suppliers gain access to the huge market of said customers, as well as the infrastructure to deliver products and collect payment
  • Employees are offered a job opportunity that they may freely choose to leave

This does... (read more)