Posts

Comments

Comment by andreas-schneider on EAF’s ballot initiative doubled Zurich’s development aid · 2020-01-15T01:12:39.209Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Jonas, I appreciate the response.

You could model a tax increase as a reduction in income for Zurich residents (using data on per-capita GDP in the city of Zurich, this is available) and compare that to an increase in the income for the average development cooperation recipient

This would make sense if we model the result of the ballot initiative as a move by nature and treat all humans symmetrically. However, when the decision is made by a mechanism that can be influenced (such as a legislative body), then under a variety of moral views, it matters very much how the decision was made. A voluntary donation, a donation resulting from social pressure, a donation using stolen money, and a donation funded via taxation can all be treated differently.

For example, under views particularly critical of taxation, taxation is equated to theft and one might consider foreign aid via increased taxation unacceptable regardless of the effectiveness of aid. Philosopher Michael Huemer has defended such a view starting from common sense morality.

A similar issue exists for budget cuts (when the recipient of public expenditure is no longer taxed).

Comment by andreas-schneider on EAF’s ballot initiative doubled Zurich’s development aid · 2020-01-14T12:38:46.146Z · score: 14 (7 votes) · EA · GW

A larger development cooperation budget implies additional taxes or cuts from other budget items in Zurich.

I notice that the post does not attempt to compare this cost to the benefits of the ballot initiative.

The EA common sense analysis is that a marginal dollar donated to global development does more good than a marginal dollar donated to charity in wealthy countries. But this intervention is pretty different from a typical donation decision (because it potentially relies on increasing taxes, and so depends on one's views on taxation). Does the EAF team have any thoughts on this issue?