faranzki

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Where should anti-paternalists donate?

I recently joined EA and would actually like to focus my donations on projects which provide direct cash transfers, also because I see these not only as a means to avoid paternalism, but because they are also a form of experiment for what the effects of an unconditional basic income would be, which for me would represent an important social goal, if really it is as good as it seems to be now, in the absence of long-term empirical evidence.

Your article is therefore extremely interesting for me. However, despite the points which you mention, I do still think that deworming and bed nets are paternalistic in a sense, since you do not give to the people the power to decide which is their most pressing problem. So even if to our standards, we improve their lives significantly, and even if we have evidence that shows that the long-term effects of such measures are extremely beneficial, I still perceive it as intrusive to decide for anybody that this is what they should be doing right now. In the end, who are we to decide what is most crucial to people's wellbeing? History, culture, values, and lifestyle generally affect people's priorities. Especially when donating to a part of the world I am unfamiliar with, I thus have difficulties to do anything but a cash transfer, because I feel that I am not familiar enough with the context to estimate how people perceive it, and how they define a good life.