All of lucy.ea8's Comments + Replies

We’re discontinuing the standout charity designation

If you are going to downvote me , then explain why. I got 5 downvoters leading to -14 negative score. So whoever downvoted me are big shots on the forum.  Check your privilege and power.


EA community and Givewell biggest failure is not understanding the importance of education.

There is a related problem of over valuing money. Which shows up in recommendation of Give Directly.


The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its most important index Human Development Index (HDI) needs serious engagement, not silent dismissal.

The dismissal of UNDP HDI is a perfect example of systemic racism of the WEST against others.

Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education


   I have written a lot about education on this forum. See this old post of mine

Education is one of many things you can do with your time

I am talking about basic education here (12 years). A child going to school is not losing family time, they are  learning and playing with their friends at school. If there are not at school they might be looking after siblings, grazing the animals, or maybe doing nothing.

See GiveWell:

Givewell's research on education is of really poor quality.   Partly that is because they assume education has no... (read more)

Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

They were driven by government policy, the policy was around changes in  the schooling system + whatever changes were needed to encourage kids to go to school. The changes had NOTHING to do with "increase the returns to schooling" as Pritchett wrongly asserts.

Were these increases typically driven by public demand

This is really hard to tell. If there are no schools in walking distance of your village and hence no one goes to school does it mean there is no demand? If you live in an authoritarian country and know that the dictator will not build schools... (read more)

Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Quotes from the papers

Even more particularly, government policies that increase the returns to schooling
will be key to raising the demand for education. 

FALSE. See Sri Lanka, Jamaica,  Mauritius, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Indian state of Kerala. All of these  places had increases in schooling before increased economic returns.

2Aaron Gertler4moWere these increases typically driven by public demand, or driven by top-down government policy? If the latter, Pritchett's point could still stand.
Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Lots of people ask why EA isn't very focused on education (or any number of other causes).

Education is one of 3 parts of Human Development Index, the other being Income and life expectancy.  The fundamental and FATAL problem of the EA community is not giving education equal importance as the other parts of the HDI.

Here I am talking about INTRINSIC value, as an end in itself like life expectancy.

The EA community and Give Well have never published moral weights for education vs money or life expectancy. They have chosen to disregard UNDP and HDI. I wond... (read more)

2Aaron Gertler4moDo you know of any studies showing that people in low-income countries regard their own education as a major source of intrinsic value, apart from its effects on other life outcomes? I ask because I think most people in the developed world value education primarily because it will help them "succeed in life" (or "get a good job", "move up in the world", etc.). If you gave people in the U.S. a choice between e.g. the experience of being in school for 3 extra years, or an extra $5,000/year in salary, I'd expect almost everyone to choose a higher salary. And I would expect sentiments to be similar in the developing world, if not stronger. I don't have access to data on this, and am generalizing from how I've seen people behave in my own life and in various nonfiction books and articles I've read. I'd be really curious to see data, and you seem like you might be familiar with relevant literature. Education is one of many things you can do with your time; I don't see why we'd necessarily privilege it over "spending time with your family", "playing with your friends", or other ways to spend time — apart from its effects on economic welfare, health, and so on. See GiveWell []: They certainly seem to differ from UNDP if UNDP considers education an intrinsic good, absent other effects on welfare. But I'm willing to bite the bullet and ask whether UNDP is actually right. Is education for its own sake important enough to justify pursuing interventions that provide more education, but less health or money, than other interventions?
Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Linch we can also use HDI (Human Development Index) and calculate education ~= money

Here is what I get for children's education

6 years schooling = 890 PPP USD per year

9 years schooling = 2800 PPP USD per year

12 years schooling = 8500 PPP USD per year

Lant Pritchett on the futility of "smart buys" in developing-world education

Linch, Can you explain. What did not survive the test of time?

4Linch4moThe belief that micro-credit has good investment ROIs for the typical recipient.
Helping the poorest without managing birth control creates vicious circle

High fertility and death rates are normal for illiterate societies, this has been the way we lived for 1000's of years. The way to low fertility and low death rates is via basic education.

What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop?
-Social movements (eg Fair Trade, Black Lives Matter, drug reform/prison reform movements)

I have been part of a few. Those perspectives are really useful.

· Global poverty that isn’t health. I'd like to see a handful of people in EA with expertise in, for example, climate policy, or education charities, or energy poverty in a developing world context.

Education and Human Development Indicators are something that EA needs to pick up.

No takers so far. As can be seen from the votes on my comments.

1simon.graffy@lrtt.org1y@Lucy I agree with you and also feel this is a hole. I'd love to discuss further. Add me on Linkedin here: [] Between RTI's Tusome in Kenya, Teaching At the Right Level, Phonic, LEAP in Liberia, Pratham, Mindspark and evidence on instructional coaching there are emergent interventions that could be funded. They are system dependent and complex but important and neglected most of the EA stuff I've found so far.
Why not give 90%?

After spending more than half a billion dollars, and potentially directing more than 100 millon dollars every year. EA community has no understanding of why HDI was created, and has no answer for why Education was dropped.

"Global health and development" = HDI - Education

It is not a question of money, it is a question of Diversity and Inclusion.

My hypothesis is that if humanity really understands how the world works then the problems can be solved easily, otherwise we will keep putting effort into less effective ways, sure EA is more effective but it still has far to go, the deficit in EA is not money it is understanding.

5kbog2yYou can receive answers to these claims by making a dedicated thread rather than hijacking the current one.
Why not give 90%?

Thanks trammell. I notice that only you told me why, I assume I got 5 downvotes at a minimum.

While not directly on topic, giving more is about bigger impact, if D&I is poor EA impact is worse. That's why I responded. My thinking is that money is not the constraint an understanding or lack of it is the constraint in improving the world. For which EA needs open hearts and minds, not

1Manuel_Allgaier2yMaybe others downvoted for the same reason (off-topic), saw that trammel already commented and then just upvoted Trammell's comment (5 upvoted) instead of writing the same thing themselves?
3kbog2yTo respond to the on-topic part of your post (I also downvoted because it's mostly off-topic), I don't see how you can shrug off the benefits of donating >10% as if 10% is good enough, while also saying that we must interview and read whole swathes of additional papers and people in the hope that some of it might be useful for achieving better cause prioritization. If you really want Effective Altruists to capture the benefits from reading non-Western scientific literature, then clearly you don't think that we can shrug our shoulders and say that we're good enough, and should recognize that donating more money is another way we can similarly do better. The two are actually fungible, as you can donate money to movement growth with advertisements targeted to foreign countries, or you can donate to cause prioritization efforts with researchers hired to survey, review and summarize the fields of literature that you think are valuable.
6Khorton2yYou could discuss this on a new top level post or this Facebook group: []
7trammell2yI downvoted the comment because it's off-topic.
AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell

Answer from Elie Hassenfeld source

Q) On Gender Inequality, reproductive health, etc., GiveWell hasn’t done much work on this. Do you see gender equality as having intrinsic value? What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment?


  • We’re broadly consequentialist in the giving that we do - focused on the direct impact on the world
  • We take that utilitarian perspective rather than the philosophical value of justice or helping the least
  • Focusing on equality per se has not been a focus for that reason
  • We could treat this differently by seeing gend
... (read more)
4RandomEA2yThanks Lucy! Readers should note that Elie's answer is likely partly addressed to Lucy's question [] .
Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter?

Interesting replacing "thing X" with "basic education" reads as follows

My four-fold “smell test” for what is important to development
I have a four-fold criteria for whether something is potentially an important determinant of development, or more narrowly, just economic growth, and I am happy if “basic education” that I am proposing is “good for development” can satisfy all four (and then can move on from these simple facts about potential importance to tease out complicated questions of proxima
... (read more)
AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell

Developing countries are very patriarchal, e.g. China, India have a distorted gender ratio at birth, women/girls lag in access to health care, education, power etc..

Given this, as far as I know GiveWell charities don't have a gender lens, neither do your reports talk much about gender.

Do you think a gender focus would be useful? If yes, why has this not been done.

If not, then why not?

Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

Thanks Aaron. I try not to assume anything, and usually ask for clarification. I should have done the same here.

[Link] Updated Drawdown now available, incl. 2020 Review

Thanks for the link.

Health and Education ... Three out of those five are already front and center in EAs' awareness anyway

According to drawdown Health and Education is mostly about basic education (high school equivalent in USA) and access to contraception. Contraception is a minor issue that EA correctly pays little attention.

Education on the other hand is given very little attention in EA, and is the critical factor in human well being. Sadly a big miss by EA.

Growth and the case against randomista development
Health, nutrition and education improvements also have positive impact on GDP growth, not just the other way around

Precisely. This is the story of Kerala, China (pre-reform)

Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

First, thanks! I had no idea Afonso de Albuquerque's conquests had been so marvelous

I would not call any conquest marvelous

7Aaron Gertler2yWhen I read Ramiro's comment, I assumed that they were referring to the other common definition of marvelous ("causing great wonder; extraordinary" rather than "extremely good or pleasing"). I don't know whether English is their first language, but I've seen people for whom English isn't a first language use "positive" English words (e.g. "incredible") in ways that are technically correct, but not common in the U.S. (e.g. "this can't possibly be true"). To provide a sillier example, calling the Great Pyramids of Giza a "wonder of the world" doesn't necessarily imply that you think a project created by slave labor was "wondrous" in the sense of being good -- you could instead mean that the Pyramids are unusually large/interesting/well-constructed compared to other architecture of the ancient world, or something like that. In any case, if you see a comment that makes you think someone is endorsing a very harmful/problematic view, it seems best to ask a clarifying question when the situation is ambiguous.
Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover
combined with general chaos and disruption

That chaos and disruption is critical. Even before Cortes set foot, death from disease made native societies very weak and easy to conquer. 1493 deals with this aspect.

1kokotajlod2yInteresting, I didn't know disease hit the Aztecs before Cortes arrived. I thought he brought the disease himself. Thanks for the tip, perhaps I'll go read that book!
Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

There have always been wars, victors, conquered in history, I consider Afonso as just one more example of the same.

1kokotajlod2yThanks for these comments; I've updated the original post in light of them!
Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Paperback – October 10, 2006
by Charles C. Mann

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created Paperback – July 24, 2012
by Charles C. Mann

I found those books useful and interesting on the question of conquest. Disease and death from disease I think is the reason for dismantling of local empires. The same did not happen in the rest of the world.

Alexander, Genghis Khan and others like that routinely rose and fell over millenia, those stories are spread in time. The Americas are a different st... (read more)

1kokotajlod2yThanks for the tip. I agree that disease seems important in the Cortes and Pizarro cases, but what about Afonso?
Growth and the case against randomista development

Thanks Linch, a better indicator than adult literacy is youth literacy.

In China 1950, for kids aged 15-19 21.86% of boys had no education, for girls 49.9% had no education.

By 1980 for kids 15-19 1.32% of boys and 3.88% of girls had no education. This is a dramatic improvement.

plus at least naively, we would expect the Cultural Revolution to have wiped out some of the progress

the cultural revolution only stalled increase in education beyond 9th grade, so it had very little effect on literacy rates

Growth and the case against randomista development

From "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy"

The third fatal problem with the “400 million births prevented” claim is that it totally ignores the most significant source of fertility decline worldwide: economic development. As the popular slogan has it, “economic development is the best contraceptive”. China’s dramatic post-1978 economic boom and the profound social changes unleashed by rising incomes and levels of education and rapid urbanization would have driven down birth rates even in the abs
... (read more)
Growth and the case against randomista development

hey brunoparga, it is not one interaction that I find problematic. i am happy to be voted down when people respond back. it is those downvotes without a response that troubles me.

i like to interact and try to see others point of view, so its totally ok if you d'ont agree with me, say so, and explain your reasons. we may not agree at the end, but atleast we can try to understand each other.

Growth and the case against randomista development

Regarding voting. I have consistently been "controversial" when I have positive karma on a comment, I can see both +ve and -ve votes. While a few are not voted, and a lot of my comments get voted down.

You have 200 comments with 2000+ karma, I have 100 comments with 25 karma.

This is a pattern I see consistently.

I pointed out the context in which I made my comment.

China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.

From reading Yong Cai and Amartya Sen etc.. its clear that one child policy had no effect on Chin... (read more)

lucy, given Linch's admonition elsethread, I am taking a break from engaging with the content you present. I am not sure how best to phrase this, but I just wanted to say I empathize with your perception of being viewed as an outgroup/outcaste. I think that must feel quite bad. In spite of so far not agreeing a lot, I don't want to contribute to you feeling that way, quite the contrary; I want everyone to feel welcomed here and in all EA spaces, and I apologize if my actions unwittingly had the opposite effect.

Its interesting to note that I got downvoted for giving excellent sources. While you got upvoted for reading the articles and commenting. Basically I am outgroup/outcaste in EA.

I'm not sure I'm the right person to comment on this, given that I'm one of the parties involved, but I'll provide my perspective here anyway in case it is of any help or interest.

I don't think you are characterizing this exchange or the reasons behind the pattern of votes accurately. Bruno asked you to provide a source in support of the following claim, w... (read more)

Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals


1 SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 4.1569

2 SDG 1: No Poverty 3.7812

3 SDG 5: Gender Equality 3.5569

4 SDG 16: Peace Justice & Strong Institutions 3.0923

5 SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy 2.2784

6 SDG 4: Quality Education 2.0549

7 SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation1.8721

8 SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth 1.7282

Given the order for goals and targets, it's clear that taxation has to play a role, otherwise how are inequalities going to be reduced?

From FAQ

asked them to identify the first 20 that should be tackl
... (read more)
2PabloAMC2yActually this post may be of interest to read on the topic: []
Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals

Hi Aaron,

"Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is ranked 2nd it is given high priority.

"Reduce all poverty by half" is ranked 16th at Medium priority

while "Boost per capita GDP" is ranked 40th at Low priority.

This implies that the "experts" think that "Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is a matter of distribution of money and power via state authority (taxation). Similarly "Reduce all poverty by half" is higher ranked than "per capita GDP growth" its about taxation and distribution agai... (read more)

5evelynciara2yI don't think it implies that these experts think redistribution is the best way to eliminate extreme poverty. Increasing GDP per capita is 40th out of 117 targets, and being ranked this low could mean that they value it as a means of reducing poverty but not as an end in itself.
Growth and the case against randomista development

regarding one child policy of china

Feng, Wang; Yong, Cai; Gu, Baochang (2012). "Population, Policy, and Politics: How Will History Judge China's One-Child Policy?" (PDF). Population and Development Review. 38: 115–29. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2013.00555.x.
Whyte, Martin K.; Wang, Feng; Cai, Yong (2015). "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy" (PDF). The China Journal.

+ read demographic research from

I actually took the time to look at those two sources, and as far as I can tell they provide no support whatsoever for your claim that "It was [China's] widespread education pre-1979 that reduced fertility." The word 'education' occurs exactly once in the first article, and in a sentence that doesn't make any claims about education reducing fertility. As for the second article, to the extent that it attributes the fertility decline to anything, it attributes it not to "education", but to economic development (pp. 158... (read more)

Growth and the case against randomista development

I consider Hunger and Public Action as one of Sen's best books, it is available as open access online here

Growth and the case against randomista development
I think the outlier there is the US, not Chile.

The nation with highest life expectancy is Japan at 84 years, Chile, USA and every "developed" country is 75+ I would say all of them are on par

I'm just going by India's self-identification.

Not useful. North Korea is Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I guess republicans and democrats in USA should be thrilled. China is communist etc.. British were bringing civilization to the world etc...

Could I please have a source on China being that good

Ouch. My mistake. I should have written c... (read more)

4brunoparga2yIf pretty much all developed countries have a similar life expectancy (apart from Japan), and the USA is quite significantly richer, than yes, it is the US that's the outlier, not Chile. I was going by India's *socialist* self-identification. There's reason to dispute e.g. North Korea's democratic credentials. India said it was socialist, Venezuela still does (China appends the "with Chinese characteristics" euphemism/tautology, of course), Denmark doesn't. I think it is reasonable to follow *that* self-identification, because I think the only people who would dispute that, say, Venezuela deserves the label are socialists who are sour about their ideology collapsing yet another country, and that is just not reasonable. I dispute that equivalence. The best ones. I would like an *excellent* source on that claim. If changing the Constitution is a non-issue, what counts as an issue to you? What exactly do you *mean* by education here? That much more than Chinese one? Or is it okay for it to be ideological? As far as I know, it is excellent... yet the country is still poor. Is your claim that, regardless of what is taught in school, as long as someone is not illiterate, they can adequately assess which policies are more conducive to growth and which ones are bad? Is this what you're saying?
Growth and the case against randomista development

Thanks Linch. You are right.

Amartya Sen compared China and India 30 years ago in his book Hunger and Public Action, it is worth reading today after all these years.

4Linch2yI enjoyed reading Development as Freedom by Sen in undergrad. It was an interesting read for me to get an understanding of non-consequentialist approaches to development, though I still think he underestimated the value of flow-through effects from GDP/scientific progress.
Growth and the case against randomista development

Regarding Chile, Amartya Sen in his book Hunger and Public Action writes about it

life expectancy in Chile is on par with US, my interest about Chile would be more around how they have same life expectancy as US with less money.

India's pre-1990s policies were not pro-growth, they were explicitly socialist.

Sure you can call them socialist, although I don'... (read more)

9brunoparga2yI think the outlier there is the US, not Chile. I'm just going by India's self-identification. I don't know enough to comment on this. I find this particular label useful because it seems to anticorrelate fairly well with pro-growth policies, especially as long as the system hasn't obviously failed yet (e.g. even Venezuela is somewhat liberalizing now). Could I please have a source on China being that good, especially pre-Deng Xiaoping's reforms? Does "better healthcare" include the several dozen million deaths in the Great Leap Ahead and other assorted atrocities? One has to keep in mind present-day China handpicks its best provinces to take part on PISA so the comparison is not apples to apples. Furthermore, this claim of Chinese citizens being particularly well-educated seems incongruous with the one about education being necessary to critcially evaluate public policy, since I'd expect Chinese education to be a total brainwash in favor of the Party. Was there such desire? If that is the case, why were the right policies not followed? It is not like late 1940s economists couldn't predict that Nehru's policies would have pretty terrible results. China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend. This by itself might be able to explain the growth difference (especially GDP per capita). That does not explain the riots here in Chile. In fact, it does sound like you think education is a panacea. What do you think of North Korean education? Cuban? Costa Rican?
Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals

Most interesting, EA focus on "Boost per capita GDP" is ranked 40th as a Low priority


"Ensure all children graduate from primary and secondary schools" is ranked 7th as a High priority.

"End discrimination against women and girls" Which is related keeping all children in school is ranked 8th as a High priority.

I agree.

4Aaron Gertler2yNote that goals around "reducing poverty" and "eliminating extreme poverty" are ranked much more highly than "boosting per capita GDP." Many who promote GDP growth would argue that such growth is highly correlated with reductions in poverty.
Growth and the case against randomista development
Chile, for example, people have been fighting tooth and nail against the policies that made the country the wealthiest, most educated one in South America

Chile was ahead of much of South America in 1950, I wouldn’t give credit solely to the last 40 years of policies. Data for Education, Income, Life Expectancy only Cuba was ahead in terms of both Income and Education (by a little bit) every other country was behind including Brazil

where pro-growth policies have been enacted were often authoritarian at the time (South Korea, Taiwan, Chile), or still
... (read more)

Lucy, thank you for your comment, even though I disagree with most of it :)

Chile was ahead of much of South America in 1950

AFAIK, Chile crumbled in the 1970s. Electing Socialist Salvador Allende is an example of what I mean by "choosing anti-growth policies"; the first half of the Pinochet dictatorship didn't help with growth (and, obviously, was a disaster for human rights).

I would not put Singapore in the same bucket as China

I agree they're quite different, but the point is that in both countries the leadership can just outright decid... (read more)

Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation”
I can't find evidence on changes in college education attainment. So it's not apparent that they are pushing forward along this transition.

I am not sure why college education is so important. Their education levels have been consistently increasing as I pointed to earlier. repeating education graphic AGAIN

Given their increases in education, it is a good assumption to make that their college level education is also increasing.

None of them asked Mexican people how content they are to stay or immigrate.

I presented actual data on total mexican immi... (read more)

Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation”
I'm not sure what the income-immigration connection really is.

Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition

The Hypothesis of the Mobility Transition by Wilbur Zelinsky (1971)

Emigration is related to income level of country. The highest levels of emigration are in middle income countries because they have ability (money) and desire to emigrate, for poor countries lack of awareness and lack of money are barriers, for richer countries they don't find uprooting themselves worth it. Mexico has passed the point of peak em... (read more)

2kbog2yMexico's GDP per capita and Gini coefficient have been about constant for the past decade. I can't find evidence on changes in college education attainment. So it's not apparent that they are pushing forward along this transition. Moreover, Mexico only constitutes ~half of illegal immigration, and many Latin American countries are poorer (in fact they are behind the $6k transition peak). None of them asked Mexican people how content they are to stay or immigrate. Mexico's population is still growing. So if the emigration rate per 1000 people remains constant, the number of annual emigres will grow year over year, just at a lower rate than it would grow if fertility were higher. Please provide a source. It may be the case that people with aging families to support desire to emigrate in order to send remittances. It is still a vastly different country. And many more tried to move but were apprehended at the border, or chose not to move because they were afraid of being apprehended at the border or otherwise policed. You're confusing apprehensions with crossing attempts and neglecting to mention the increase in apprehensions of non-Mexican migrants. Whether or not a country has open borders is not a question of the quantity of immigrants who enter the country. Fine, but don't then tell me I'm wrong when I'm not. Second of all, the American right-wing is correct when they perceive that America fails to reliably control the southern border or police the undocumented migrant population. That's probably what would happen here: assuming that you make it to the border, then CBP will not have the power to detain you, ICE will not exist, you will be "legally protected," you will not have a criminal record, and you will have a "pathway to citizenship."
Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation”
I don't find "open borders" to be a loaded term

I live in a very liberal part of USA. I searched for "Open Borders" in my local library and found 3 books.

First a children's book which can be ignored.

"Open Borders Inc.: Who's Funding America's Destruction? by Michelle Malkin published in September, 2019" "America First: Why Americans Must End Free Trade, Stop Outsourcing and Close Our Open Borders by Paul Streitz published in 2006"

The assumption in those two books being that US already has open... (read more)

2kbog2yThis is the book that many more people around here (including myself) are familiar with. The number in the US is affected by many factors including border security, so it is not a good way of discussing the number of potential people who might migrate depending on different policies for border security. They are not reliable evidence. I was hoping for solid specific analysis predicting immigration trends. The income gap between the US and Mexico is has been growing over the last few decades, no one knows quite what the future holds for these economies, and I'm not sure what the income-immigration connection really is. How does a fertility rate of 2.2 imply that demand to emigrate to the US will decrease? I'm not sure what the education-immigration connection really is. Or what is even different about this from the past. According to...? Mexico will not be like these countries anytime soon. 150 million [] is the number of people who would like to emigrate to the US. 5 million of them are in Mexico. And note that Mexicans are not even half [] of the US illegal immigrant population. Does not change the fact that the number of those who wish to emigrate (and who may attempt it illegally) exceed the capacity that is allocated through legal mechanisms. It's very odd that you say this right after presenting evidence that the status quo is being perceived and discussed by people on the American right as a condition of open borders. I don't think you've properly recognized the fact that I am discussing political perceptions and responses to the state of the border rather than making a moral claim about whether I want more immigration. Most of FPGen's immigration recommendations are being advocated by some major Democratic politicians, including presidential candidates.
Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation”
Best not to impute such meanings on the EA forum.

I regard "open borders" in the same category of as discussion about -isms, totally useless. In the US political context "open borders" is used to as a scare tactic. Which is why I regard the term as propaganda . (I am not imputing motive to you)

It is much better to talk specific numbers. US on average has been gaining 1 million residents a year for the last 20 years, and this is showing signs of slowing down. On the margin this can be changed with immigration policy. Overall though the l... (read more)

2kbog2yI have not assumed that the rate of immigration to the US has been increasing. I would like to see evidence that demand to immigrate to the US is falling, and in any case, it will continue to greatly exceed the capacity that is allocated through legal mechanisms. Which is why it is not "much better to talk specific numbers" as you claim. You are taking us back in a circle. I communicate accurate ideas by using accurate words. For what it's worth, I don't find "open borders" to be a loaded term. Especially not when there is a new book called Open Borders which explicitly argues that 'open borders' are a good thing and is selling tons of copies and getting great reviews. And when open borders advocates have openly called for 'open borders' and made websites titled 'Open Borders' and so on. Indeed. Open borders would be an unprecedented policy development in the current period. As a matter of political reality, FPGen's recommendations for immigration are unlikely to all be implemented, but I wanted to respond comprehensively to their ideas.
Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation”
"Decriminalize attempts to cross the US border, and end migrant detention."
This has obvious benefits of increasing immigration and reducing the problems associated with border enforcement.

I expect illegal entry to still be a civil offense, instead of a criminal offense. I expect them to be deported back to their country of origin. This is much more humane, and better use of US effort (money).

Immigration will not increase all that much with this policy. Why? Mexico is an upper middle income country with fertility rate is 2.2, in addition women age... (read more)

2kbog2yRe: the first part of your comment, the structural question of whether immigration rates are high, low, rising or falling doesn't change the fact that softer immigration policy will encourage more people to immigrate on the margin. Although I was not aware (as the other comment also pointed out) that decriminalization won't actually make things easier for many immigrants, so maybe the effect will be very minor. The condition where the state does not exercise controls on immigration in a meaningful practical sense. Decriminalization doesn't necessarily mean open borders, but in concert with the other proposals here, I think it effectively would. Best not to impute such meanings on the EA forum. I don't think such a calculation is a good metric, not least because natives' perceptions of numbers of immigrants and illegal immigrants are often very off the mark, if not ignored due to scope insensitivity, which implies that looking at the numbers does not do a great job of determining how natives will perceive and react to things.
Growth and the case against randomista development

oh good. now we are thinking about individual countries their histories and lessons that they can offer. Amartya Sen/Jean Dreze introduced me to this way of thinking in their book Hunger and Public Action, their latest "An Uncertain Glory: India and its contradictions" is good too.

Glad you brought up HDI which consists of three parts Education, Life Expectancy and Income.

In South Africa Education as you noted is up, Income is basically flat, Life Expectancy on the other hand in back to 1993 levels after crashing hard due to he AIDS crisis. South ... (read more)

Growth and the case against randomista development

Like I mentioned earlier, I have very little interest in economic growth. Education is a necessary but not sufficient condition, I said as much when I wrote " Education drives Health, and in case of market economies it drives wealth also." implying that other policies have an effect on wealth. Cuba is a good example, it is almost on par with USA in terms of life expectancy, babies per woman, but not money. This is because of their education levels.

Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova are ex USSR countries, the transition from communism had been catastrophic... (read more)

8HenryStanley2yWill have a look at those links. But my point was that your blanket statement about there being no countries which implemented widespread K-12 education and didn't have huge welfare gains (whether as wealth or e.g. HDI) is wrong on its face. e.g. South Africa and Switzerland since 1990 increased mean years of schooling by 50% (from 8y to 12y); South Africa saw its HDI increase by 0.04 but Switzerland saw it increase by 0.11 over the same period. OTOH, there are countries with very little increase in time spent in school which have seen huge increases in HDI.
Growth and the case against randomista development

Hello Henry_Stanley,

Any one downvote without comment is understandable. I persistently get downvoted. At that point most people leave the community. Are those the norms that we want to create?

I never downvote people I disagree with, I ask them why and try to learn from them (or teach them).

Growth and the case against randomista development

I have very little interest in economic growth. I value basic education, followed by health.

The best papers on the subject are Education and Health: Redrawing the Preston Curve Wolfgang Lutz Endale Kebede

Global Sustainable Development priorities 500 y after Luther: Sola schola et sanitate Wolfgang Lutz

You can find detailed education dataset at

Gapminder which i linked to earlier has a lot of data loaded into it.

The idea that education is important is not new. Since the earl

... (read more)
Growth and the case against randomista development

perhaps countries which didn't produce huge welfare gains also implemented widespread K-12 education

That list of countries is zero.

On the contrary, countries with widespread education always had huge welfare gains. They did well in terms of life expectancy, under 5 mortality rate, babies per woman (a reasonable indicator for modernity, and women's empowerment).

If they were market economies like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong they also had gains in income. China saw major improvements in education and social indicators pre-1979 reforms, it saw

... (read more)

perhaps countries which didn't produce huge welfare gains also implemented widespread K-12 education

That list of countries is zero.

I'd like to see a source for that, given the Gapminder chart of years of schooling vs. GDP has plenty of examples of countries which have increased the number of years of schooling and seen no increase in GDP - e.g. Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Micronesia et al

I'm not going to get into this, but if you think this is the answer to big questions of how to increase economic growth, it would be better to properly define the dataset and show an analysis which demonstrates causation rather than mere correlation.

Growth and the case against randomista development

ok cool. we are in agreement that communist countries had serious problems. even so China pre-reform (1979) had good social indicators that should not be dismissed as if they dont exist.

Growth and the case against randomista development

I re-read that post kbog, I am not advocating any -isms here. However I do see a bias for capitalism/free markets on the forum and ask for clarification.

I asked an unanswered question on that post some time ago

In general I dislike arguing about -isms. I think policy. For me Universal Basic Education, Universal Basic Healthcare, Universal Basic Income are policies that I strongly support.

The order is also important first

... (read more)
2kbog2yI'm the one who upvoted that comment that you made, and broadly agree with it. As I tried to make clear in the post: the main reason we talk broadly about socialism is that there is a broad socialist movement which cannot be reduced to a specific policy platform, and it can be useful to know whether we should encourage, discourage or ignore this broad movement. It is perfectly consistent to say that the socialist movement mostly points in a bad policy direction, while also believing that real policy evaluation should be done in more specific terms, that boundaries between socialism and capitalism are fuzzy, and that there have been successes and failures from both approaches.
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