136Joined Sep 2021


Absolutely new to effective altruism since July 2021. Pediatrician working in low resource settings, now Masters student in global health policy, because I wanted to help more people. Here to learn.


Peter Singer has done the math, and it is possible to reduce by half global hunger and extreme poverty, with modest numbers (old article, but I just found it):

While I am here, humbly, I need to ask a burning question: Your advocacy and behaviour are incongruent with respect to consumption; you consume in a degrowth pattern, but advocate for growth, why?

Thank you!!! For efficiency, I almost only read books by audio now, so as self-declared expert, I agree books read by the author are superior because the author understands the meaning, inflection, and nuance in their words.  I think it added value to WWOTF. 

I most recently read Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas, read by the author, and cannot help but feel moral unease about EA position in the philanthropic world right now.  He  makes a defensible argument for politics as the means of doing the most good.

I would be suspicious of anyone (the libertarians you describe) who claims to be protecting children by endorsing child labour. 

Fair point. Although, I think I did also mean “dumbed down longtermism”. Every far longtermist threat, like engineered pandemics, AI alignment, existential risk, great power war, environmental degradation, etc, also threatens current children. Possibly regular people (non-EAs) would understand the threat better/empathize more easily if it were a threat to children vs concepts of future people.

Thank you for the informative comment.  I learned two things today - "adultism", and the difference between disenfranchised agent and patient. 

I really appreciated your linked question/comment about relating abolition, suffrage, to non-human animals and future people. I agree! Do you think of my association between children and future people is a closer match?

Although I would 100% endorse increasing the agency of children and youth, I can't help but understand adultism as less of a prejudice, and more of a matter-of-fact with respect to small children. The study you cited are youth who already have some agency, as they are capable of reading and completing a survey, rather than babies who cannot control their own limbs. 

Lastly, as an ally who has interest in children, what might move you closer to lobbying for consensus on the rights of the child? 

I appreciate your questions on both of these points.  

Tractability - Yes, I see the senate as the roadblock, depending on the party makeup within it. Of course, lobbying state-specific-laws might be more successful, but not as comprehensive. This is the reason I am suggesting going for the big goal. It is more about universal acknowledgement of child rights as agent-less future people. Even if the senate is destined to block it, do you see the possible value in bringing child rights to the agenda, raising the issue in the news, raising public awareness, spinning the possibility US ratification as "American champions of child rights", or any similar secondary goals?  

Value of ratification - True,  ratification does not directly guarantee improved child survival or welfare. It is why I am suggesting it as "hits based".   As I am sure you know, UN treaties are only as strong as the sanctions other countries choose to place on violators.  If the US ratified, as a relative global power, it would carry weight in sanctions, which it cannot do now.  The benefit to US children I see as a positive externality only. 

The goal would be in what universal consensus represents, step one in a global value change toward the importance of future people.  

As someone with interest in political interventions as EA cause areas, I am curious whether you think there is a better approach?

Thanks for pointing out where my argument lacks clarity. I can understand the confusion on the points you have made if the primary goal of ratification were benefit to US kids. I am suggesting the primary goal of US ratification is universal consensus, with the benefit to US kids as more of a positive externality. 

The same is true about  freeing mothers from exclusive care of children; it would not be the primary goal, but a positive externality. An example here would be in a low income country with no universal health care, a mother must make the choice between seeking and paying for health care for her sick child, versus going to work that day, feeding her other children, etc. Universal health care for children would free her from this problem.  Actually, as I write, there is much to be said for improving the social protection floor in America, as well.....

You are also right in observing that ratification does not automatically save millions of kids. The reason I suggested it as a "hits based" cause area is as a first step in locking-in in value change toward protecting human rights of agent-less future people. I see it as a step-wise process:

  1. Universal consensus on child rights
  2. Public awareness and pressure on protection of children, greater weight for UN enforcement of child rights,  acknowledgement of children as our future, etc
  3. Other forms of improvement of child welfare, such as universal health care for children  (working toward saving millions of kids)
  4. Acknowledgement of rights for future people, and possible future treaties

With this information, how might I rephrase the original post to present it more clearly?

I agree with this entirely. I submitted a post in which I speak to this very idea, (not as clearly and pointedly as you have done):

"What I see missing, is promotion of the universal benefits of equality, altruism, and goodwill. Here I mean simple altruism, not necessarily effective altruism. Imagine if only 20% of the population worked for the greater good. Or if every person spent 20% of their time at it? Convincing more of the world population to do right by each other, the environment, animals, and the future, in whatever capacity possible, seems to me to be the best investment the EA community could make. Working at a local soup kitchen may not be the most effective/efficient altruistic pursuit, but what if everyone did something similar, and maximized their personal fit? I have trouble thinking of a downside, but am open to counterpoint ideas. "

I am a mid-career professional, who only discovered EA a year ago, FWIW.

Is growth the best approach to maximizing the good we can do? What is the effect on the environment? How much consumption is too much?  Where does this leave future generations?

What if instead low income countries were granted debt relief, so their policies were not driven by creditors? What about a global minimum wage?  Or tax justice, like a universal minimum corporate tax? And what to do about climate reparations? 

These ideas are not my own, they are from this podcast:

Much of the challenge of measuring growth is it occurs as a country-level analysis, where the growth of global north rich countries in the last two centuries was at least partially gained on the resources and human capital of the global south, and continues, so similar growth cannot be replicated. 

Therefore I would wonder if global governance policy  is an important and neglected area to be considered? (I will allow that tractability may be the roadblock).

I would therefore also wonder about the EA response to "poor countries don't need charity, they need justice"?

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