And a much delayed response...
It is actually 'prima facie obvious' to some people that philanthropic do-gooders - those who 'aim at making the world better' through individualised charity are not actually having a positive impact. This kind of critique of charity and philanthropy is much older than EA.
So maybe everyone will agree with the thin claim that people who try to make the world better in some way will usually have more positive impact than those who don't try. But this has no implications for charity vs politics or anythin... (read more)
I'm back for some reason!
Here's my attempt at non-snide answer.
I think the issue is maybe not really about doing any particular reading or research, but about worldviews.
One does not usually get 'converted' to socialism or whatever simply by reading a couple of smart articles on the issue. Nor would one necessarily be persuaded of the relevance of social movement studies specifically or anything else if one was constitutionally disinclined to think it worthwhile.
A worldview is not just something we rationally choose based on evidence.... (read more)
I do actually discuss this issue a little, although perhaps not quite in these terms. Critics do argue, in fact, that growing EA as it currently works would be bad because it perpetuates harmful attitudes to charity (see e.g. Gabriel's article).
I can assure you that it is not at all obvious that EA is the best movement precisely because of this focus on charity/individualism etc. and the more general epistemic gaps I discuss in the paper.
EA can certainly be defended as an effective movement, rather than just in terms of the effectiveness of its donat... (read more)
Hi thanks for your comment! Sorry for delayed response.
As it happens I think that radical social movements, broadly understood, do have the capacity to course-correct, learning from what has worked or failed before and are compatible with our understanding of human behavior. And certainly they are tolerant of uncertainty - there is little choice but to be!
I'm not sure what it means to be grounded in consequentialism - to invoke it explicitly? Not sure why this would be so important - everyone cares about consequences and radicals have often not been r... (read more)
Thanks for your comment. Apologies for delayed reply.
Apologies is this sounds a bit snide but...invoking this 'two paper rule' is exactly the kind of faux-smart heuristic that EA's critics have a problem with. It tries to take short-cuts to working out what is the best thing to do and even to justify them as themselves effective. But I think this mis-understands the holistic and historically extended nature of worldviews/movements/anlayses.
Social movement studies happens to exist as a self-identified field. That EA's haven't heard... (read more)
Hi - thanks for your comments! Apologies for the delay in getting back to this. Some responses.
1. Re: labelling. I'm not familiar with the Pritchett stuff - is it his 'four fold smell test', which asks whether the proposed development intervention involves something that actually is widespread in developed countries? It looks like a shorthand that is underpinned by a systemic analysis of the history and causes of development, plus some idea that it will happen the same way now as in the past.
My critique is intended to be primarily epistemic... (read more)