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Open Thread: September 2021

I thought the Clickhole post was both funny, and a good illustration of how cause prioritization can be perceived by many people. 

RogerAckroyd's Shortform

I think it was the GWWC page that I eventually linked to. 

I looked at the Centre for Effective Altruism home page first, and somewhere else that I can not remember, and did not find them very suitable as a starting point for the general public. 

RogerAckroyd's Shortform

I was recently looking for a page with donation advice to link to. I found one, but it struck me that some general EA-organisations could start their homepages more focused on effective donation. (As opposed to getting people involved in other ways.) Most people are not looking to join an organistion or change jobs to more altruistically effective ones, but probably donate something to charity and could repriotize those donations. Having a "hook" which is about what to donate to might be more helpful. 

World federalism and EA

I am not convinced federalism does much to mitigate risk of totalitarianism. I think there is tendency for power to get concentrated to the federal level, regardless of what legal documents say, and to achieve totalitarianism it should be enough to get power over armed forces, law enforcement and highest courts. 

What would an entity with GiveWell's decision-making process have recommended in the past?

If that was done before the slave trade was abolished it would have encouraged the enslavement of more people. 

What would an entity with GiveWell's decision-making process have recommended in the past?

Another question: Would it have supported Christian missionary efforts because of education/healthcare they spread? Would it instead have competed with such efforts? 

(I am assuming that we are talking of an organisation founded in the Western world. What a Chinese GiveWell in the 19th century would have done I have absolutely no idea about.) 

What would an entity with GiveWell's decision-making process have recommended in the past?

Going back a little more than 200 years, would it have recommended supporting the anti-slavery movement? Presumably it would agree that abolishing slavery was good, but the evidence that the movement would work would not be there beforehand, and it might have seemed very unlikely to succeed. 

RogerAckroyd's Shortform

Professor Abigail Marsh writes in NYT that individualism promotes altruism:

I have not made any attempt to vet the study, and for studies of this kind you don't expect one study to be more than a small piece of evidence but it is clearly an interesting research question. 

RogerAckroyd's Shortform

Sometimes when I see people writing about opposition to the death penalty I get the urge to mention Effective Altruism to them, and suggest it is borderline insane to think opposition to capital punishment in the US is where a humanitarian should focus their energies. (Other political causes don't cause me to react in the same way because people's desire to campaign for things like lower taxes, feminism or more school spending seems tied up with self-interest to a much larger degree, so the question if it is the most pressing issue seems irrelevant.) I always refrain from mentioning EA because I think it would do more harm then good, so I will just vent my irrational frustation here. 


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