Mohammad Ismam Huda

256 karmaJoined Jun 2022


Strongly agree. I definitely would like to see more content on neartermist causes/ careers. But importantly, I would like to see this content contributed by authors who hold neartermist views and can give those topics justice. Whilst I am appreciative of 80,000 Hours and GWWC attempting to accomodate longtermism-skeptics with some neartermist content, their neartermist content feels condescending because it doesn't properly showcase the perspectives of Effective Altruists who are skeptical of longtermist framings.


I also personally worry 80,000 Hours is seen as the "official EA cause prioritisation" resource and this:

  • alienates readers with different views and conclusions,
  • does not show that the EA community has diverse and varied views,
  • has misled readers into thinking there is an "official EA position" on best careers/ cause areas

Having more neartermist content will help with this, but I also would like to see 80,000 Hours host content from authors with clashing views. E.g., 80,000 makes a very forceful case that Climate Change is not a material X-Risk, and I would like to see disagreeing writers critique that view on their site.


I also think you hit the nail on the head about many readers being unreceptive to longtermism for concerns like tractability, and that is entirely valid for them.

The problem I am trying to communicate is less so about agreeing with deep critiques, and more-so about attacking the authors of critiques personally.

This is where I think EA (or more fairly - this specific forum) underperforms other intellectual movements. e.g. Physicists, philosophers, social scientists can disagree about different theories in deep but respectful and professional ways. In EA however, deep criticism is received very personally by the community, leading to emotional/personal attacks on character.

There is this great post that notes that:

Within EA, criticism is acceptable, even encouraged, if it lies within particular boundaries, and when it is expressed in suitable terms. ...  As a community, however, we remain remarkably resistant to deep critiques.

I would say your linkpost sits more within the "Deep Critique" space, to which EAs have a knee-jerk reaction to interpret as bad-faith or unfair.

But don't let that you stop you please, otherwise the culture in this community will never improve.

Absolutely not. If anything, it is the other way around.

Statistics is much more applied. I did a statistics degree and became an actuary. It has been a very rewarding and impactful career. I am often quite shocked at the poor data/ statistics skills demonstrated by maths graduates, who (presumably because they are specialised in subjects like topology) are far behind their graduate peers with backgrounds in Psychology or Economics.

Is Branson a good choice for frugality? He owns an island, registered in a tax haven, and lavishes his celebrity & politica friends with gifts.

Maybe Mike Canon-Brookes is a better example of a "frugal" billionaire (frugal relative to the typical billionaire).

The CCC has high standards of research

Would you be able to point to something backing up this claim? Just a word of caution because I don't believe this to be true (as I explain below).

Lomborg's name might be familiar (or infamous) those of us in Australia where he was at the centre of a big political scandal, where the conservative government at the time (then climate-skeptics) was perceived to be pushing universities to host the Copenhagen Centre and seen as political intereference into the academic system.

Lomborg has been described as a climate contrarian in Science:

Once the darling of Australia's conservative government, controversial climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg has lost his Down Under caché—and cash. 

Australia's Climate Council is critical of him:

And has made bunk claims on Australian bushfires:


I do understand that all this criticism is centred on Lomborg/ his centre's views on climate, which is separate to the the cause areas you bring up with e-procurement and land tenure. But, his track record on climate does make me cautious about their reputability.

I agree with you, it is disappointing that EA are doing little in this area.

In Australia, we have a speaker from ICAN (the nobel prize winning anti-nuclear weapons NGO) attending the 2023 EAGX Australia in Melbourne. In my opinion, it's a particularly promising area for big impact (and especially for Aussie EAs) due to the recently developed AUKUS alliance. The details of the alliance are still being fleshed out, and a big opportunity exists to shape the alliancce to de-risk the chances of a conflict between great powers.

I'm very fascinated with the Kerala Model and it's apparent success. I haven't looked into it in-depth but it seems like it has similarities to the Nordic Model.

Would be keen for some economic development people to share their thoughts.

I distance myself from longtermism for the reasons you spell out here,  i.e. correcting inequality is not seen as a priority. But I do agree that fixing inequality should be a key priority even by longtermist principles. The longtermists that do not think it is a priority are often not even aware that they hold shaky (in my opinion) assumptions that:

  • Inequality does not deprive us of talent to solve presing world problems
  • Inequality does not exacerbates the scale and probability of X-Risks and Catastropic-Risks
  • Inequality itself is not a significant source of suffering if allowed to perpetuate into the future

There are other reformulations of longtermism that exist outside of the normal EA community, usually by critics of longtermism. For example:

https://www.carlbeijer.com/p/there-is-no-long-term-without-socialism (article is paywalled but if you message me privately, I am happy to share a copy of it I have saved).

Is this really a fair description of IR Realism?

Mearsheimer, to his credit, was able to anticipate the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If his prescriptions were heeded to sooner, perhaps this conflict could have narrowly been avoided.

You could just as easily argue that Mearsheimer's opponents have done more to enable the Russians.

I'm not saying I agree with Mearsheimer or understand his views fully, but I'm grateful his school of thought exists and is being explored.

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