Tony.Sena

Comments

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Hi Jeremy - I am going through a similar process currently and would love to connect and see if there may be ways to combine efforts / share learnings. I wrote more about my project here.

Why I find longtermism hard, and what keeps me motivated

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I deeply empathize with the pull to help people now, while rationally agreeing with longtermist arguments. One insight that really stood out to me was:

"One thing I’m heartened by is that working on the long run feels hard in precisely the way I think we should expect effective altruism to feel hard" 

This intuitively makes sense to me, particularly within the framing of neglectedness. Similarly however, I do wander whether the opposite could be true and whether the sense of something feeling hard may be our intuition providing a signal that the work doesn't align with our personal ethic (for whatever reason)? 

I have personally struggled with this. I am trying to give my intuition more weight relative to pure rational reasoning as I have found that I can often learn a lot about my moral intuitions by stepping back and trying to unpack the uncomfortableness that I may feel. 

Yale EA’s Fellowship Application Scores were not Predictive of Eventual Engagement

Thanks for sharing. Firstly, as someone who went through the Yale EA Fellowship, I have to thank the organizers for their thoughtfulness through all stages of the Fellowship. 

I have two questions: 1) how have you thought about DEI in the selection process and minimizing any risks associated with unconscious bias or other systemic bias that may lead to certain individuals not being admitted to the program. 2) Has the team considered leveraging an expimental or quasi-experimental approach in thinking about how the selection process may influence the engagement of the cohort. 

AMA: Elizabeth Edwards-Appell, former State Representative

What decision-making frameworks did (and have) you find to be generally be more successful and persuasive? 

For example, did you find that the use of data and evidence led to a higher likelihood of aligning disparate stakeholders? What role did anecdote / story have? Did you observe median voter theorem to hold when decisions had to be made? 

The intersection of foreign aid and EA: a U.S. case study

This was a great summary of US foreign aid. I appreciate the research that went into this to synthesize deeply yet succinctly the key features of the system. I recently read Prof Angus Deaton's book, 'The Great Escape' in which he argues against broad based foreign aid, especially in the form that is described in this piece. I key element of his argument (as I understood it) is that there is a correlation between countries that receive aid and countries that depend on aid. Prof Deaton goes on to argue that those countries that are receiving aid are the ones that are actually negatively impacted by receiving aid due to corruption, poor administration, institutional challenges etc. Furthermore, Prof Deaton goes on to argue that how aid is provided will only perpetuate these issues in receiving countries. 

Given these challenges, I would be interested in your views on the very premise of foreign aid as an effective use of resources. 

EA and the Possible Decline of the US: Very Rough Thoughts

Fascinating read and potential concept, especially given what we have witnessed in the US over the past few months. I am interested in the framing of this piece around 'collapse' and more specifically how 'collapse' may be differentiated from a more general reduction in relative power? Is there something specific about a 'collapse' that differentiates it from the standard tectonic shifts of power that we have observed over the course of all human history that makes prioritization more important? 

In my opinion, the framing of a cause prioritization around 'collapse' creates risks of a false dichotomy, whereas more general prioritization on something like say institutional decision-making, policy-making or just more generally politics could provide a vast majority of the potential benefits that a cause priority focus on 'collapse' could bring. Simultaneously, these more general areas would likely provide more relevant insights with a higher likelihood of implementable positive social impact. 

Improving Institutional Decision-Making: a new working group

Thanks all for synthesizing these thoughts and laying out the team’s plan for the upcoming year. I look forward to reading more around how the team’s thoughts progress on these important questions. I understand that defining and subsequently determining ‘key institutions’ is a priority area for the team and so to the extent these still may be being considered please feel free to ignore. I have some questions regarding institutions as a vector for driving effective change. 

What would you consider to be the other main decision making vectors (I am imagining individuals, authoritarian leaders etc) and is there a reason why improving the decision-making processes of 'institutions' specifically should be prioritized over these other vectors? Do you see overlap between IIDM and the arguments for an increased focus on ‘economic growth’ style interventions? Accordingly, to what extent is IIDM analogous to driving effective change through improved macroeconomic interventions?