Posts

EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find 2021-07-17T12:16:42.918Z
"Reversing problems" vs "Slowing down problems" 2021-07-16T21:07:27.492Z
What are good institutes to conduct a research-based Masters in ageing research? 2021-06-23T15:56:19.570Z
Should someone start a grassroots campaign for USA to recognise the State of Palestine? 2021-05-11T15:29:10.555Z
Are global pandemics going to be more likely or less likely over the next 100 years? 2021-05-06T23:48:19.019Z
Has anyone done any work on how donating to lab grown meat research (https://new-harvest.org/) might compare to Giving Green's recommendations for fighting climate change? 2021-04-28T12:02:00.999Z

Comments

Comment by freedomandutility on Should someone start a grassroots campaign for USA to recognise the State of Palestine? · 2021-07-18T12:21:14.143Z · EA · GW

That’s great to hear! I too am quite skeptical about finding many good interventions in this area for the reasons you describe, I think most good interventions here would be along the lines of “improving the efficiency with which resources are being used” rather than “adding more resources”

Comment by freedomandutility on EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find · 2021-07-18T10:20:47.967Z · EA · GW

Hi, thanks for providing those reasons, I can totally see the rationale!

One general point I'd like to make is if a proposed intervention is "improving the efficiency of work on cause X", a large amount of resources already being poored into cause X should actually increase the EV of the proposed intervention (but obviously, this is assuming that the work on cause X is positive in expectation, and as you say, some may not feel this way about some pro-Palestinian activism).

Comment by freedomandutility on EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find · 2021-07-18T10:15:19.993Z · EA · GW

I think the interventions would be very specific to the domain. I mentioned an intervention to direct pro-Palestinian activism towards a tangible goal, and with redirecting western anti-racism work towards international genocide prevention, this could possibly be done by getting western anti-racism organisations to partner with similar organisations in countries with greater risk of genocides, which could lead to resource / expertise sharing over a long period of time.

Comment by freedomandutility on EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find · 2021-07-18T09:00:12.135Z · EA · GW

Yep exactly that!

Comment by freedomandutility on EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find · 2021-07-17T17:22:52.617Z · EA · GW

So in both of the examples provided, EAs would be funding / carrying out interventions that improve the effectiveness of other work, and it is this other work that would improve well-being / preserve lives in expectation.

Because I suspect that these interventions would be relatively cheap, and because this other work would already have lots of resources behind it, I think these interventions would slightly improve the effectiveness with which a large amount of resources are spent, to the extent that the interventions could compare with GW top charities in terms of expected value.

Comment by freedomandutility on EA cause areas are just areas where great interventions should be easier to find · 2021-07-17T15:38:08.788Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the suggestion, I've added an attempt at this to the post

Comment by freedomandutility on What are good institutes to conduct a research-based Masters in ageing research? · 2021-07-16T21:08:15.098Z · EA · GW

Thank you!

Comment by freedomandutility on What are some examples of successful social change? · 2021-06-24T12:42:35.730Z · EA · GW

The 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement used non-partisan, non-violent civil disobedience to get an anti-corruption bill passed in Parliament

Comment by freedomandutility on Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead · 2021-06-04T14:07:38.447Z · EA · GW

Some people argue that we not only need to prevent further greenhouse gas emissions, but that it should also be a priority to reduce the current amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

Do they share this position, and if so, do they think that it could be more effective to fund the development of greenhouse gas absorbing technologies (which could potentially reduce the current amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) than to fund initiatives to reduce further GHG emissions, which do not share this potential.

Comment by freedomandutility on Climate change questions for Johannes Ackva and John Halstead · 2021-06-04T14:02:54.490Z · EA · GW

How do they think funding the development of alternative proteins might compare to donations to the Clean Air Task Force?

Comment by freedomandutility on How do other EAs keep themselves motivated? · 2021-06-02T07:14:42.462Z · EA · GW

I'm not comfortable sharing an excerpt publicly on the forum since it could compromise my anonymity, but I'm happy to send it to anyone who's interested over the forum's messaging function.

Comment by freedomandutility on Should someone start a grassroots campaign for USA to recognise the State of Palestine? · 2021-05-31T16:10:26.056Z · EA · GW

I'm going to a more detailed post on this when I have time, but I think we should be more stringent in thinking of EA's priority cause areas as problems with cost-effective interventions that are easier to find, and other areas as problems with  cost-effective interventions that are harder to find.

I think some people might have downvoted on the basis of "the Israel-Palestine conflict doesn't seem like it should be a priority EA cause area" (which I'd agree with), rather than "this intervention doesn't seem cost-effective".

Comment by freedomandutility on Why should we be effective in our altruism? · 2021-05-31T08:08:07.147Z · EA · GW

There is a very large amount of suffering in the world. It is morally good to alleviate this suffering. But alleviating suffering costs resources of some kind, like money or effort. 

So if there are opportunities to alleviate more suffering using the same amount of resources, it makes sense to seek out these opportunities, and take them.

Comment by freedomandutility on How do other EAs keep themselves motivated? · 2021-05-28T16:52:56.018Z · EA · GW

I'm a student, and I have a Google document that I refer to whenever I feel demotivated in terms of my goals or don't feel like studying.

It's essentially my personal EA 'theory of change' - it covers the sequence of events from me studying now / working on EA stuff now, all the way to lots of people suffering a lot less and lots of people being far happier.

I think it really helps me and I'd definitely recommend it! 😀

Comment by freedomandutility on ESG investing needs thoughtful trade-offs · 2021-05-27T13:23:59.329Z · EA · GW

Thanks for your posts about ESG!

One thing I'm unclear on is "To judge whether ESG investing is actually having an impact, we need to look at scenarios where there is a tension between ESG factors and profitability factors."

In my view, given that businesses / investors aren't perfect at profit maximisation, it seems like situations where ESG  increases profits compared to no ESG should still be thought of as part of ESG's impact. 

Comment by freedomandutility on Working in Parliament: How to get a job & have an impact · 2021-05-25T12:06:59.099Z · EA · GW

Yes it is, thank you!

Comment by freedomandutility on Working in Parliament: How to get a job & have an impact · 2021-05-24T16:40:51.445Z · EA · GW

Thank you for writing this! 

One question I have for you:

How do you think a UK parliamentary assistant role compares to a role doing policy work at an NGO working at a more international level /  in a less affluent country?

Comment by freedomandutility on Could an international marriage (historically mail order bride) be considered an effective "initiative"? · 2021-05-21T12:20:11.219Z · EA · GW

I think it'd be harder to scale up

Comment by freedomandutility on Could an international marriage (historically mail order bride) be considered an effective "initiative"? · 2021-05-14T21:05:18.606Z · EA · GW

My opinion is no, but a related initiative I might make a more detailed post on in the future would be something along the lines of making it easier to adopt children from abroad (or even in the same country) / advocating for more adoptions

Comment by freedomandutility on (looking for feedback!) A Happier World: An EA inspired YouTube channel · 2021-05-13T20:17:37.453Z · EA · GW

Great! I'd also recommend reaching out to leaders of university EA groups who might be able to share the videos on social media

Comment by freedomandutility on (looking for feedback!) A Happier World: An EA inspired YouTube channel · 2021-05-13T17:45:30.037Z · EA · GW

I think this is a brilliant idea! I'd like to recommend a video on how the news tends to focus on novel and infrequent problems, and how this systematically misses some of the worst problems which are happening far more frequently, which messes with our ideas of what the worst problems are.

Comment by freedomandutility on Response to Phil Torres’ ‘The Case Against Longtermism’ · 2021-05-12T12:44:42.390Z · EA · GW

I didn't downvote this comment, but 

a) This may have not been your intention, but even in context,  the "white supremacy" claim in the e-book does read as your claim

b) I don't think "poorer countries should transfer their wealth to richer countries" supports "a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources". The richest countries include many countries that aren't majority white such as Singapore, Qatar, UAE, Taiwan etc, so I don't think the 'overwhelmingly' criterion is met here.

c) I'm of the opinion that people should refrain from ever using terms "in a legal scholarly sense"; instead they should either use the term in its usual sense or create a new term with a more specific definition.

That being said, I think a  charitable reading of your e-book makes it seem like you are describing certain conclusions of longetermism as supporting 'white supremacy', and that you are using the term in a 'legal scholarly sense' and defining it as "a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources". I don't know if you have made this claim elsewhere but it did not seem like your e-book claims that "longtermists are white supremacists".

Comment by freedomandutility on HIPR: A new EA-aligned policy newsletter · 2021-05-11T17:11:33.396Z · EA · GW

I think this is a great idea and personally I think it's relevant enough for the forum

Comment by freedomandutility on Ending The War on Drugs - A New Cause For Effective Altruists? · 2021-05-09T18:40:34.865Z · EA · GW

I think this is still a good cause area for EAs:

  1. I think the potential positive effects of global drug legalisation on opioid access in LMICs adds massively to the expected value
  2. I agree that this area is probably not neglected in absolute terms, but I suspect that it might be neglected relative to the expected value of global drug legalisation
  3. I think a global angle (which might have more of a focus on working with WHO and the UN) might not even be neglected in absolute terms
Comment by freedomandutility on Has anyone done any work on how donating to lab grown meat research (https://new-harvest.org/) might compare to Giving Green's recommendations for fighting climate change? · 2021-04-29T12:07:43.661Z · EA · GW

Thanks, exactly what I was looking for!