Has anyone analyzed the trade-offs between mosquito and human welfare?

post by garymm · 2019-09-02T23:27:57.075Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW · No comments

This is a question post.


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Has anyone analyzed the tradeoffs between mosquito and human welfare?

Background: I have donated a lot of money to the Against Malaria Foundation, which results in shortening the lives of many mosquitoes and lengthening the lives of many humans. I gather this and similar interventions are popular in the EA community, but wild animal welfare is also a concern for some (including me). So it seems plausible that one might object to these interventions for animal welfare reasons.

So has anyone attempted to analyze this trade-off? A few minutes of searching didn't turn anything up.


answer by saulius · 2019-09-03T10:14:21.495Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Brian Tomasik wrote about it here. I should note that linking to this doesn't mean that I endorse what is written. It is written from a negative utilitarian perspective and with an assumption that invertebrate lives are net-negative, therefore it's good to reduce their population. Personally, I'm unconvinced that this assumption is correct, I think that we simply don't know. Also, I think it is likely that indirect effects of reducing invertebrate populations dominate direct effects. E.g., it seems that insect populations are already declining at an absurdly fast pace, and (pure speculation) this could maybe decrease the probability of the long-term survival of humanity in some way.

Brian also put AMF in his donation recommendations, seemingly for the sole reason that it "plausibly reduces invertebrate populations" (by increasing human population).

You might also be interested in a discussion about AMF's indirect effects here [EA · GW].

answer by garymm · 2019-09-06T01:33:22.344Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I found this post and the transitive links useful: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/guvsD78ZXhfCaT7SH/the-unproven-and-unprovable-case-for-net-wild-animal [EA · GW]

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