4685 karmaJoined Apr 2021


My ethics are closest to asymmetric, person-affecting prioritarianism, and I don’t think the expected value of the future is as high as longtermists do because of potential bad futures. Politically I'm closest to internationalist libertarian socialism. 


Topic Contributions

I want to highlight that I think MHI's explicit aim for this model to be adopted by the government is a great response to the criticisms of aid where there are concerns about dependency, and criticisms of the NGO sector where there are concerns about short-termism and displacing the government and public services. 

I think other global health charities should consider a similar approach, where an intervention is demonstrated to be highly cost-effective, and this is used to encourage the government to scale this up and integrate it into public services, rather than having the charity scale it up independently.

I believe the charities have been incubated based on health economic evidence showing that they reduce negative health outcomes associated from unplanned pregnancies, presumably by preventing them, which should also reduce abortions.

Characteristics of the specific programs (setting, baseline effects, low-cost approaches etc) might make them more cost-effective than the average contraception / sex-ed program. Also, programs may be cost-effective despite small effects on abortion rates due to low costs.

Have you explored how donating to Charity Entrepreneurship-incubated family planning charities might compare to anti-abortion advocacy? 

I suspect it might be more effective at reducing the abortion rate whilst also not having the same downside of reducing women's control over their lives. There are also large additional benefits of avoiding negative health outcomes like obstetric fistulas and increasing women's control over their lives.

My best guess - this is a noisy estimate from a meta-analysis which doesn't clearly report risk-of-bias assessments of included studies, so the mortality reduction is probably a lot smaller than 30%. 

The time in the past where water filtration caused a mortality reduction greater than expected from eliminating typhoid - I imagine we can attribute large amounts to other infectious diseases like cholera, rotavirus etc?

Two thoughts on this paper:

  1. Does it make sense to pool the effect of chlorine interventions with filtration interventions, when these are two different types of interventions? I don't think it does and notably the Cochrane review on this topic that looks at diorrhoea rather than mortality doesn't pool these effects - it doesn't even pool cholirnation products and flocculation sachets together, or different types of filtration together -  https://www.cochrane.org/CD004794/INFECTN_interventions-improve-water-quality-and-prevent-diarrhoea - it's hard not to notice that neither of these sub-group effects were statistically insignificant until they were pooled together, which makes me worry about p-hacking.
  2. These interventions obviously have spillover benefits to other individuals in the household, so I suspect that focusing on mortality in under-5s significantly underestimates the DALYs averted by point-of-care chlorine dispenser and water filtration interventions.

What advice does Lucia have for engaging with policymakers, that she hasn’t commonly heard elsewhere?

“we shape the ideology to steer clearer of RB & naive consequentialism?”

I’m strongly in favour of this as something for CEA to aim for via the content of EA intro fellowships.

Specifically, EA should actively condemn law-breaking in the pursuit of doing good as a general principle and accept that EA isn’t just applied consequentialism and does accept broad deontological principles like “don’t break the law”, “don’t lie” etc.

I agree that we should be wary of falling into the "risk-averse bureaucracy" failure mode, and I also think co-living for co-workers at a similar seniority level is fine (it is also normal outside EA). I also think there might be a good case for EA houses trying to have people from different orgs.

However, I'd like to point out that any Fermi estimates here would be fairly pointless. There are many different inputs you would need, and the reasonable range for each input is very wide, particularly with "potential reputational harm to EA from bad thing happening", which can range from nothing to FTX-level or far worse.

"In general the law is not necessarily well-aligned with doing the most good" 

I agree with this, but I think deontological principles like "don't ask people who you have power over to break the law" are good and should be followed, even when in specific situations, this might be misaligned with the act which generates the greatest utility in the short term.

There's of interesting work inside and outside EA which I would recommend, on the relationship between consequentialism and deontology (including stuff about naive consequentialism, rule utilitarianism, etc).

I don't think employers should tell employees to do illegal things, it's about both power dynamics and legality.

I would very strongly recommend that employers do not ask employees to illegally move melatonin across borders.

Obviously jaywalking is much less bad and asking your employees to jaywalk is much less bad - but I would still recommend that employers do not ask employees to jaywalk. Generally I'd say that it's much less bad to ask your employees to do an illegal thing that lots of people do anyway, but I would recommend that employees still do not ask employees to do them. (Jaywalking would fit into this category, moving drugs illegally across borders and driving without a license in Puerto Rico would not).

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