Wiki Contributions


Is capitalism the root of all evil?

If it did, I am surprised why no one focused on that rather than the title. For me Capitalism is the cause or one of the biggest contributors or the maintainer to many of the issues we are facing, Global poverty and climate change to name a few.

I might give you climate change – though I would note that e.g. communist states also have very bad environmental records (see e.g. the Aral Sea), so there is still some work to be done to strengthen that case.

I don't agree with global poverty – I currently think  capitalism has historically been, and will continue to be, one of the most important forces bringing people out of poverty.

People say a lot of silly things regarding the connection between capitalism and poverty. There might be a more sensible case for a link between the two, but I haven't heard it yet.

Is capitalism the root of all evil?

Thank you for being open minded. In terms of factory farming and capitalism, can I ask you if you don’t think that factory farming came as a result of capitalism? And wether countries with less developed capitalist systems (if you even can call them capitalists) have less animal suffering?

I can certainly see a story where capitalism was the genesis and remains the driver of factory farming. But the more fundamental problem is that most people don't see animals as morally important, and that applies across nearly all economic systems.

There's a complicating factor here, which is that capitalism makes countries rich, and rich people want to eat more meat, so it's possible that that is most of the driver here. One could respond to that that in that case making countries rich is bad on net, but I think any path to a good world is going to involve making everyone in the world a lot richer, so if factory farming is near-inevitable in rich countries (in the absence of good technological alternatives) then I'm reluctant to blame capitalism, as opposed to humans in general.

I would be interested in seeing data on factory farming in less capitalist countries (e.g. the Soviet Union), compared to more free-market countries of similar wealth (if one can find any).

Should aid organizations accept ETH donations?

In contrast, the contribution of cryptocurrency to the world appears to be very much negative.

Is this based solely on the electricity usage? You haven't given any other reason why we should assume that crypto money was obtained unethically - and the electricity reason seems to be a pretty weak one to me.

Is capitalism the root of all evil?

Many EAs, me included, are pretty sympathetic to capitalism as an economic system – certainly much more so than many other communities that place a strong emphasis on helping others.

This certainly isn't universal within EA, but it is common. Personally, I think this has become a bit of a tribal signal within EA, such that people are a bit too ready to downvote anti-capitalist content. That said, given this context, it's probably a good idea to ask questions like this in a somewhat more measured style, and provide some concrete arguments that people can engage with.

(One thing that would significantly update me in an anti-capitalist direction, for example, would be to provide evidence that capitalism leads to significantly more factory farming than other economic systems, even accounting for differences in wealth.)

Is capitalism the root of all evil?

To clarify, when meerpirat say that people on the EA Forum are volunteers, they don't (I assume) mean that there is some dedicated team of volunteers whose job it is to answer Forum questions.

Rather, they simply mean that most users of the Forum are not paid to use it.

(I'm not sure if you were in fact confused about this, but I thought your comment above potentially implied that you were, so I wanted to make this clear just in case.)

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

While I didn't like Khorton's original comment, this comment comes across as spiteful and mean, while contributing little or nothing of value. I strong-downvoted it.

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

I feel I have explained myself fairly well on this thread already, see for example here:

One could imagine, for example, a post that contains similar content but is written with far more sympathy for what ACE and co. are trying to do here, even if the author disagrees (strongly) with its implementation. I think this post actually does better on this than many past posts on this topic, but taken as a whole we are still a long way from where I would like to be.

Whatever information you want to convey, there are always a very wide range of ways to convey that information, which will vary substantially in their effects. With very controversial stuff like this, it is especially worth putting thought into how to convey that information in the manner that is best for the world.

I've actually been quite impressed with Hypatia's behaviour on this point since the post went up, in terms of updating the post based on feedback and moderating its tone. I think my version of this post would try even harder to be nice and sympathetic to pro-SJ EAs than this, but I'm not very unhappy with the current version of the OP.

(The ensuing discussion has also brought to light several things that made me update in the direction of ACE's behaviour being even worse than I thought, which makes me more sympathetic to the OP in its original form, though I stand by my original comments.)

Wild Animal Initiative featured in Vox

Yeah, to be clear I'm happy for EA and EA-adjacent orgs to publish news they're excited about on the Forum, and this certainly qualifies.

Something about the phrasing does bug me, but I'm not sure exactly what. This could be explained by WAI copying phrasing from another source (e.g. promotional material) to make this post, which would be understandable as a time-saver.

Wild Animal Initiative featured in Vox

I feel a bit bad about my other comment being the first and only comment here, because while I stand by what I said there I also think this coverage is great news and WAI is totally justified in being really excited about it. So, congratulations!

Wild Animal Initiative featured in Vox

I'd be interested in getting others' takes here, but as currently phrased this post feels a bit too much like marketing / propaganda for me to be comfortable with it as a post on this Forum.

(I continue to be very supportive of WAI's mission, methods, and staff.)

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