Posts

An Informal Review of Space Exploration 2020-01-31T13:16:00.960Z · score: 36 (15 votes)
Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries 2020-01-31T12:25:00.682Z · score: 19 (17 votes)
Concrete Foreign Policy Recommendations for America 2020-01-20T21:52:03.860Z · score: 15 (11 votes)
Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” 2020-01-19T20:24:00.971Z · score: 14 (8 votes)
A small observation about the value of having kids 2020-01-19T02:37:59.391Z · score: 15 (8 votes)
Love seems like a high priority 2020-01-19T00:41:51.617Z · score: 21 (20 votes)
Tentative Thoughts on Speech Policing 2020-01-06T19:20:36.485Z · score: 0 (16 votes)
Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking 2020-01-06T04:31:07.614Z · score: 11 (25 votes)
Welfare stories: How history should be written, with an example (early history of Guam) 2020-01-02T23:32:10.940Z · score: 46 (18 votes)
Tentative thoughts on which kinds of speech are harmful 2020-01-02T22:44:58.055Z · score: -3 (13 votes)
On AI Weapons 2019-11-13T12:48:16.351Z · score: 46 (18 votes)
New and improved Candidate Scoring System 2019-11-12T08:49:34.392Z · score: 21 (20 votes)
Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct 2019-07-30T05:48:57.665Z · score: 52 (57 votes)
Extinguishing or preventing coal seam fires is a potential cause area 2019-07-07T18:42:22.548Z · score: 56 (29 votes)
Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? 2019-07-03T00:20:40.213Z · score: 21 (20 votes)
Consequences of animal product consumption (combined model) 2019-06-15T14:46:19.564Z · score: 17 (16 votes)
A vision for anthropocentrism to supplant wild animal suffering 2019-06-06T00:01:43.953Z · score: 28 (14 votes)
Candidate Scoring System, Fifth Release 2019-06-05T08:10:38.845Z · score: 11 (10 votes)
Overview of Capitalism and Socialism for Effective Altruism 2019-05-16T06:12:39.522Z · score: 38 (20 votes)
Structure EA organizations as WSDNs? 2019-05-10T20:36:19.032Z · score: 10 (8 votes)
Reasons to eat meat 2019-04-21T20:37:51.671Z · score: 46 (55 votes)
Political culture at the edges of Effective Altruism 2019-04-12T06:03:45.822Z · score: 9 (23 votes)
Candidate Scoring System, Third Release 2019-04-02T06:33:55.802Z · score: 11 (8 votes)
The Political Prioritization Process 2019-04-02T00:29:43.742Z · score: 9 (3 votes)
Impact of US Strategic Power on Global Well-Being (quick take) 2019-03-23T06:19:33.900Z · score: 15 (10 votes)
Candidate Scoring System, Second Release 2019-03-19T05:41:20.022Z · score: 30 (15 votes)
Candidate Scoring System, First Release 2019-03-05T15:15:30.265Z · score: 11 (6 votes)
Candidate scoring system for 2020 (second draft) 2019-02-26T04:14:06.804Z · score: 11 (5 votes)
kbog did an oopsie! (new meat eater problem numbers) 2019-02-15T15:17:35.607Z · score: 31 (19 votes)
A system for scoring political candidates. RFC (request for comments) on methodology and positions 2019-02-13T10:35:46.063Z · score: 24 (11 votes)
Vocational Career Guide for Effective Altruists 2019-01-26T11:16:20.674Z · score: 29 (20 votes)
Vox's "Future Perfect" column frequently has flawed journalism 2019-01-26T08:09:23.277Z · score: 33 (30 votes)
A spreadsheet for comparing donations in different careers 2019-01-12T07:32:51.218Z · score: 6 (1 votes)
An integrated model to evaluate the impact of animal products 2019-01-09T11:04:57.048Z · score: 38 (21 votes)
Response to a Dylan Matthews article on Vox about bipartisanship 2018-12-20T15:53:33.177Z · score: 56 (35 votes)
Quality of life of farm animals 2018-12-14T19:21:37.724Z · score: 3 (5 votes)
EA needs a cause prioritization journal 2018-09-12T22:40:52.153Z · score: 3 (13 votes)
The Ethics of Giving Part Four: Elizabeth Ashford on Justice and Effective Altruism 2018-09-05T04:10:26.243Z · score: 5 (7 votes)
The Ethics of Giving Part Three: Jeff McMahan on Whether One May Donate to an Ineffective Charity 2018-08-10T14:01:25.819Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
The Ethics of Giving part two: Christine Swanton on the Virtues of Giving 2018-08-06T11:53:49.744Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
The Ethics of Giving part one: Thomas Hill on the Kantian perspective on giving 2018-07-20T20:06:30.020Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
Nothing Wrong With AI Weapons 2017-08-28T02:52:29.953Z · score: 17 (21 votes)
Selecting investments based on covariance with the value of charities 2017-02-04T04:33:04.769Z · score: 5 (7 votes)
Taking Systemic Change Seriously 2016-10-24T23:18:58.122Z · score: 7 (11 votes)
Effective Altruism subreddit 2016-09-25T06:03:27.079Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Finance Careers for Earning to Give 2016-03-06T05:15:02.628Z · score: 9 (11 votes)
Quantifying the Impact of Economic Growth on Meat Consumption 2015-12-22T11:30:42.615Z · score: 22 (30 votes)

Comments

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-02T15:33:11.145Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I previously included wild animal suffering in the long run weight of animal welfare. Having looked at some of these links and reconsidering, I think I was over-weighting animal welfare's impact on wild animal suffering.

One objection here is that improving socioeconomic conditions can also broadly improve people's values. Generally speaking, increasing wealth and security promotes self-expression values, which correspond decently well to having a wide moral circle. So there's less general reason to single out moral issues like animal welfare as being a comparatively higher priority.

However, improving socioeconomic conditions also accelerates the date at which technological s-risks will present themselves. So in some cases, we are looking for differential moral progress. So this tells me to increase the weight of animal welfare for the long run. (It's overall slightly higher now than before.)

Another objection: a lot of what we perceive as pure moral concern vs apathy in governance could really be understood as a different tradeoff of freedom versus government control. It's straightforward in the case of animal farming or climate change that the people who believe in a powerful regulatory state are doing good whereas the small-government libertarians are doing harm. But I'm not sure that this will apply generally in the future.

Emerging tech is treated as an x-risk here, so s-risks from tech should be considered separately. In terms of determining weights and priorities I would sooner lump s-risks into growth and progress than into x-risks.

I don't see climate change policy as promoting better moral values. Sure, better moral values can imply better climate change policy, but that doesn't mean there's a link the other way. One of the reasons animal welfare uniquely matters here is that we think there is a specific phenomenon where people care less about animals in order to justify their meat consumption.

At the moment I can't think of other specific changes to make but I will keep it in mind and maybe hit upon something else.

Comment by kbog on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-02T13:28:51.675Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition
The Hypothesis of the Mobility Transition by Wilbur Zelinsky (1971)

Mexico's GDP per capita and Gini coefficient have been about constant for the past decade. I can't find evidence on changes in college education attainment. So it's not apparent that they are pushing forward along this transition. Moreover, Mexico only constitutes ~half of illegal immigration, and many Latin American countries are poorer (in fact they are behind the $6k transition peak).

All the data+papers presented before and in this post.

None of them asked Mexican people how content they are to stay or immigrate.

The obvious, the number of kids being born in Mexico peaked in 1994 at 2.9 million and has fallen to 2.16 million births in 2018. If emigration rates remain same we can expect lower number of Mexicans trying to emigrate.

Mexico's population is still growing. So if the emigration rate per 1000 people remains constant, the number of annual emigres will grow year over year, just at a lower rate than it would grow if fertility were higher.

When fertility rates fall, the pulls of home country are greater for emigres as parents age, + parents are less enthusiastic about kids emigrating in the first place.

Please provide a source. It may be the case that people with aging families to support desire to emigrate in order to send remittances.

Mexican emigration has gone down similar to Ireland, Japan, UK etc

It is still a vastly different country.

Around 5% of those wishing to move to US actually moved.

And many more tried to move but were apprehended at the border, or chose not to move because they were afraid of being apprehended at the border or otherwise policed.

The number of Mexicans attempting to cross the border illegally has crashed from a high of 1.615 million in 2000 to 152,257 in 2018

You're confusing apprehensions with crossing attempts and neglecting to mention the increase in apprehensions of non-Mexican migrants.

However neither FPGen or Democrats are advocating open borders, I doubt that even under the least restrictive proposals US net immigration will exceed 1 million average over the next 20 years

Whether or not a country has open borders is not a question of the quantity of immigrants who enter the country.

I just ignore them.

Fine, but don't then tell me I'm wrong when I'm not.

Second of all, the American right-wing is correct when they perceive that America fails to reliably control the southern border or police the undocumented migrant population.

I look for universal definitions, open borders means that anyone can come and live in USA

That's probably what would happen here: assuming that you make it to the border, then CBP will not have the power to detain you, ICE will not exist, you will be "legally protected," you will not have a criminal record, and you will have a "pathway to citizenship."

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-02T12:18:16.872Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

These seem like small impacts on the national level. My comment on this dimension of wealth taxation is simply:

"Wealth taxes would also encourage more rapid spending on luxury consumption, political contributions, and philanthropy. It’s not clear if this is generally good or bad. Of course the tax would also reduce the amount of money that is ultimately available for the rich to use on these things, although the cap on political contributions means that it probably wouldn’t make much difference there."

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T07:53:10.573Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Good find, adding this too

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T07:49:29.666Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Good point. Increasing the weight by 40% until I or someone else does a better calculation.

Comment by kbog on An Informal Review of Space Exploration · 2020-02-01T07:43:34.764Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

OK, I plan to look at some of this in tandem with Deudney's book, due to the similar themes.

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T07:32:36.926Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hm, I thought that 'air pollution' would be readily interpreted as including climate change.

I called it air pollution rather than climate change because I think it's perceived as a more convincing and less partisan term. And it's more correct, given that we're also addressing other consequences besides climate change.

I don't call it environment because we don't have evaluations regarding ground and water pollution but I could change it, if more people feel the same way.

Comment by kbog on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-01T05:55:30.874Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
I would not use it for FPGen but would use it in context when discussing "Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration Paperback – October 29, 2019 by Bryan Caplan" here authors themselves choose to describe their views as "open borders"

This is the book that many more people around here (including myself) are familiar with.

I already gave you data about undocumented mexican immigrant numbers falling,

The number in the US is affected by many factors including border security, so it is not a good way of discussing the number of potential people who might migrate depending on different policies for border security.

I also gave you specific reasons of why this is happening

They are not reliable evidence. I was hoping for solid specific analysis predicting immigration trends.

repeating myself "Mexico is an upper middle income country

The income gap between the US and Mexico is has been growing over the last few decades, no one knows quite what the future holds for these economies, and I'm not sure what the income-immigration connection really is.

with fertility rate is 2.2,

How does a fertility rate of 2.2 imply that demand to emigrate to the US will decrease?

in addition women aged 15-24 are finishing 11.3 years of schooling.

I'm not sure what the education-immigration connection really is. Or what is even different about this from the past.

Mexicans are relatively content to stay in Mexico.

According to...?

This is similar to immigration trajectories of Ireland, UK, Japan etc.. etc.."

Mexico will not be like these countries anytime soon.

I prefer to see numbers, not just words.

150 million is the number of people who would like to emigrate to the US. 5 million of them are in Mexico.

And note that Mexicans are not even half of the US illegal immigrant population.

Total number of undocumented immigrants went down in the last 10 years https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/12/how-pew-research-center-counts-unauthorized-immigrants-in-us/

Does not change the fact that the number of those who wish to emigrate (and who may attempt it illegally) exceed the capacity that is allocated through legal mechanisms.

So overall immigration is solidly under control in USA,

It's very odd that you say this right after presenting evidence that the status quo is being perceived and discussed by people on the American right as a condition of open borders.

I don't think you've properly recognized the fact that I am discussing political perceptions and responses to the state of the border rather than making a moral claim about whether I want more immigration.

its pointless to discuss "open borders" because such a policy is not being advocated by anyone with even a remote chance of coming to power.

Most of FPGen's immigration recommendations are being advocated by some major Democratic politicians, including presidential candidates.

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T04:59:32.091Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hard to say but I think at this point we have to take note of why Clinton and her emails were perceived so badly. The idea was that there was real corruption in the government. Sexist remarks in the workplace are a known quantity, whereas a private unsecured email server is a kind of rabbit hole.

I definitely don't deny that it could hurt him, my view is just that trying to aggregate and compare these concerns across all the candidates with their respective foibles doesn't lead one to any substantive conclusions.

But now you are making me worry more that perhaps a woman will accuse him of sexual assault. With Mike's locker room talk, and him being an old oligarch, there is cause for worry about him in particular. These accusations often follow people who are rising in the public conscience. Bloomberg was already famous before now and subject to sexism controversy, but not as much as he will be if he gets nominated, and his political career had apparently stopped by the time the #MeToo campaign started. You would expect a victim to come forward earlier while he was initially rising in the primary polls, but since he's a late entrant who has been absent from debates, I wouldn't be too confident about that. Bernie and Biden have been top political figures for a long time, so there is no appreciable risk with them. Pete's gay and young. Warren's a woman.

Adding a 1% probability of sexual assault accusations after the nomination causing Mike to lose against Trump, his campaign score drops from 8 to 6, putting him close to Pete. So I'm less enthusiastic about him now, but I don't think this is yet enough to change the recommendations. (I will think more about it though.)

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T01:16:09.378Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I generally don't.

There are some reasons to think scandals will be as or more consequential in 2020 as they were in 2016: The executive branch under Trump could seize upon them to manipulate the election, and the mainstream media doesn't seem to recognize that they had central role in damaging Hillary. OTOH, most American elections in history have not been decided by scandals. The Comey letter that probably cost Hillary the election made for a somewhat unusual perfect storm. Swing voters will probably go into this knowing that Trump is more corrupt/scandalous - it's not like 2016 when Trump was a kind of unknown alternative. And the mainstream media might behave better this time, despite not publicly blaming themselves for 2016. For one thing, they won't assume that Trump will lose, which is likely what motivated the disproportionate coverage of the email scandal.

Anyway, scandals can happen to anyone and it's hard to differentiate stronger/weaker candidates without descending into tea-leaves divination.

I was previously worried about Biden-Ukraine, but as Vox pointed out, the coverage surrounding the Trump-Ukraine scandal doesn't seem to have hurt Biden either in the Dem primaries or in head-to-head polling against Trump.

There is Warren's deception about her ancestry. But that is kind of well known and internalized by now.

There have been other controversies turning up in the Dem primaries, most notably against Pete, and then we have the story that Bernie is a millionaire, but these are mostly things that bother highly politically engaged left wing voters, who are unrepresentative and likely to turn out for the Dems anyway.

Comment by kbog on Candidate Scoring System recommendations for the Democratic presidential primaries · 2020-02-01T00:10:21.733Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The first link, "CSS Model," is the one produced at the time of the most recent PDF report, and should be looked at for understanding the report.

The second link, "CSS model for current draft" is the file that can have more recent updates (e.g. new polling) and should be used if you want to get the most accurate scores, whether or not you insert your own weights.

Comment by kbog on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-01-31T11:03:58.127Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
US on average has been gaining 1 million residents a year for the last 20 years, and this is showing signs of slowing down.

I have not assumed that the rate of immigration to the US has been increasing.

Overall though the long term trend is for people choosing to stay in their home countries as they get better educated and as their demographics change.

I would like to see evidence that demand to immigrate to the US is falling, and in any case, it will continue to greatly exceed the capacity that is allocated through legal mechanisms.

Perceptions are different from reality as you point out.

Which is why it is not "much better to talk specific numbers" as you claim. You are taking us back in a circle.

Let's not reinforce the false perception by using loaded words.

I communicate accurate ideas by using accurate words. For what it's worth, I don't find "open borders" to be a loaded term. Especially not when there is a new book called Open Borders which explicitly argues that 'open borders' are a good thing and is selling tons of copies and getting great reviews. And when open borders advocates have openly called for 'open borders' and made websites titled 'Open Borders' and so on.

By that definition I cannot think of countries that have open borders in recent history

Indeed. Open borders would be an unprecedented policy development in the current period. As a matter of political reality, FPGen's recommendations for immigration are unlikely to all be implemented, but I wanted to respond comprehensively to their ideas.

Comment by kbog on Concrete Foreign Policy Recommendations for America · 2020-01-28T14:01:32.002Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The National Guard system wards off high achievers who want to be devoted to their (primary) job.

It makes sense because of the military's need for large potential reserves, intense deployments and long periods of low-intensity training and recovery. Would that apply to the civil service? I'm kinda skeptical.

Comment by kbog on Concrete Foreign Policy Recommendations for America · 2020-01-28T13:57:53.309Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. I have rewritten it to be more qualified.

Comment by kbog on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-01-28T13:52:46.643Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Re: the first part of your comment, the structural question of whether immigration rates are high, low, rising or falling doesn't change the fact that softer immigration policy will encourage more people to immigrate on the margin. Although I was not aware (as the other comment also pointed out) that decriminalization won't actually make things easier for many immigrants, so maybe the effect will be very minor.

A definition of open borders is needed.

The condition where the state does not exercise controls on immigration in a meaningful practical sense.

Decriminalization doesn't necessarily mean open borders, but in concert with the other proposals here, I think it effectively would.

I see it is a propaganda term without any meaning

Best not to impute such meanings on the EA forum.

I don't see this at all. Unless one defines ineptness as no one should enter US via the border. I expect 300,000 people entering without inspection in the worst case or 0.1% of the population. I expect a third of them will return or be deported over the next 10 years after entry. This is hardly inept border control, or an emergency.

I don't think such a calculation is a good metric, not least because natives' perceptions of numbers of immigrants and illegal immigrants are often very off the mark, if not ignored due to scope insensitivity, which implies that looking at the numbers does not do a great job of determining how natives will perceive and react to things.

Comment by kbog on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-01-28T13:39:15.528Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Good point on decriminalization and asylum.

When you say the other things are fine, are you referring to my positions, or FPGen's?


Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-28T13:35:17.088Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
A digression, but I do wonder if people working on these smaller, niche areas with an EA spirit, (assuming they did make the right call on the impact and it's just an area that can't absorb a lot of EA resources) feel sidelined or dismissed by the EA movement. (Might be the case for climate for instance.) And I wonder if this were really the case how the EA movement can be better at encouraging such independent thinking and work.

The answer is simply to grow the EA movement so that more causes have adequate numbers of people working on them. Rather worrying about giving people equal slices of the pie.

Comment by kbog on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-21T20:35:22.538Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Read both and still don't see anything to contradict my post, unless you are assuming "person-affecting" ethics.

Comment by kbog on Concrete Foreign Policy Recommendations for America · 2020-01-21T20:28:17.667Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

See http://bit.ly/ea-css , specifically sections "Capitalism and Socialism", "taxation and budget" (wealth and corporate tax), "Trade", "Housing Policy" (rent control), "Healthcare" (drug price controls), and "Education Policy".

Comment by kbog on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-20T19:55:34.020Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW
In making this claim you completely overlook the fundamental quantitative reasoning you need to make to tackle the question of impact.

Those issues are addressed in different sections. Scope just refers to what % of the future people are affected.

Ending malaria and "solving" love will give everyone a better life for at best 80 years, solving aging for... 1000 years as a lower bound.

This is reasoning from the lifetime utility of a given individual. I think that's incorrect. Assume population size remains the same; if there are 10 people living 100 years, that's comparable to one person living 1000 years, save for the unfortunate experiences surrounding death. OTOH, if we imagine 10 people living 1000 years, the principal advantage is not to be understood as improved quality of life, but rather as an increase in population size over time. So I give credit to anti-aging both for making mortality/morbidity very rare, and for increasing the population size.

I've only skimmed your part 1 LEV post so I may be missing something. But the way I see it, if you assign full QALYs for the 1000 years, you are doing one of two things: 1) assuming that the fertility rate (births per person per year) will not decline as a result of the greater population, or 2) not worried about the foregone births. I presume the population will grow as a result of solving aging, but not to the extent that is naively implied by assuming that fertility remains constant.

I implicitly assumed that both of these interventions are going to happen at some point anyway, and early research can just shift them forwards.

Comment by kbog on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-20T03:27:02.404Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Dating apps and matching are not neglected, but for some reason this more deliberate experimental approach seems largely ignored.

Comment by kbog on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-19T20:36:35.430Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · EA · GW

As an aside, if we are getting many novel ideas but there are not enough people to fund/implement them, that's good evidence that we should be worrying more about movement growth (& less about cultivating a small cadre of uber-rational people).

Comment by kbog on Love seems like a high priority · 2020-01-19T19:27:52.865Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I don't see what your disagreement is. Reaching LEV means we end greatly reduce or end natural deaths, which is what I discussed above.

I don't think there's a huge benefit of going from, say, 1000 year lifespans to infinite lifespans.

Comment by kbog on A small observation about the value of having kids · 2020-01-19T19:22:45.518Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

No idea, it's just something that I've heard EAs say when they're talking about having kids

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T03:17:36.404Z · score: 11 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I'm not going to get into this, but if you think this is the answer to big questions of how to increase economic growth, it would be better to properly define the dataset and show an analysis which demonstrates causation rather than mere correlation.

Comment by kbog on A small observation about the value of having kids · 2020-01-19T03:08:29.028Z · score: 5 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Are you talking about the general conversations about whether EAs should have kids, or are you talking about the point I'm making right here?

Either way, I'm confident we are all perfectly capable of discussing right and wrong action on such issues while steering clear of moralistic judging, just as we have generally done on other issues such as diet and donations.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:46:50.511Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm the one who upvoted that comment that you made, and broadly agree with it. As I tried to make clear in the post: the main reason we talk broadly about socialism is that there is a broad socialist movement which cannot be reduced to a specific policy platform, and it can be useful to know whether we should encourage, discourage or ignore this broad movement.

It is perfectly consistent to say that the socialist movement mostly points in a bad policy direction, while also believing that real policy evaluation should be done in more specific terms, that boundaries between socialism and capitalism are fuzzy, and that there have been successes and failures from both approaches.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:31:45.820Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

OK, I don't think he means that social welfare policies like public education and healthcare (as done in the context of a capitalist economy) are generally bad, but rather that properly socialist countries are bad. After all he did say that there are successes and failures from both approaches.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T23:01:31.419Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The reason to make that assumption is that EA is just a very small component of the global budget and we are typically dealing with large problems, so our funding usually does little to change marginal returns.

In some cases, like AI risk, the problem is "small" (i.e. our small amount of extra funding can meet the main practical requirements for the time being). However, for big economic issues, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T22:44:09.642Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

We have also ranked American political policies and candidates in terms of how much impact they will have on growth (and other issues), giving quantitative weighting to different issues.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!At2KcPiXB5rkyABaEsATaMrRDxwj?e=VvVnl2

It is very rough and tentative but suggests that housing and immigration liberalization are the most important areas for U.S. domestic policy to improve economic growth. Different Fed policy and child allowance might be very good too.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T22:19:28.211Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Rather than being wild speculation, I think this is clearly correct. And needs to be mentioned anytime someone criticizes EA for having too much focus on proven interventions instead of things like economic growth.

However there are other causes which can be good under such a moderate epistemic view: growing Effective Altruism, curing aging, fighting climate change, partisan politics, improving foreign policy, etc. All of these have been recognized by some Effective Altruists as important and will compete with economic growth for attention.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T22:14:35.525Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Do you have a better analysis of this? Lots of things happened before economic growth and could have plausibly contributed to it. Remember not to select on the dependent variable: perhaps countries which didn't produce huge welfare gains also implemented widespread K-12 education.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T22:11:22.146Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
This is the reason I don't like labels of left/right/socialist/communist/capitalist/fascist etc.. It is much better to discuss policy.

That's exactly one of the main problems with the leftist reaction that jonathanpaulson mentioned. I'm not sure what you are disagreeing about.

Comment by kbog on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T22:07:24.803Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

For a general look at the problems of socialism, see my post: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ktEfsoGfBFGsaiY46/overview-of-capitalism-and-socialism-for-effective-altruism

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-14T08:03:04.652Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · EA · GW
Sorry, I should have been more explicit at the start. You responded to a few of weeatquince's points by saying they confounded specific narrower views with longtermism as whole, but these views are very influential within EA longtermism in practice, and the writing your OP is a response to dealt with these narrower views in the first place. I don't think weeatquince (or Phil) was confounding these narrower views with longtermism broadly understood, and the point was to criticize these specific views, anyway, so longtermism being broader is besides the point. If they were confounding these more specific views with longtermism, it still wouldn't invalidate the original criticisms, because these specific views do seem to get significant weight in EA longtermism in practice, anyway (e.g. through 80,000 Hours).

You seem to be interpreting my post as an attempt at a comprehensive refutation, when it is not and was not presented as such. I took some arguments and explored their implications. I was quite open about the fact that some of the arguments could lead to disagreement with common Effective Altruist interpretations of long-term priorities even if they don't refute the basic idea. I feel like you are manufacturing disagreement and I think this is a good time to end the conversation.

What theories have you seen that do support the astronomical waste argument? Don't almost all of them (weighted by popularity or not) depend on (impersonal) totalism or a slight variation of it?

As I said previously, this should be discussed in a proper post; I don't currently have time or inclination to go into it.

Are you saying views accepting the astronomical waste argument are dominant within ethics generally?

I answered this in previous comments.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-14T04:30:57.141Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

There are going to be prudential questions of governance, collateral damages, harms to norms, and similar issues which swamp very small direct differences in risk probability even if one is fixated on the very long run. Hence, an acceptable level of risk is one which is low enough that it seems equal or smaller than these other issues.


Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-14T04:28:11.323Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
Because the criticism isn't just against longtermism per se, but longtermism in practice.

But in my original post I already acknowledged this difference. You're repeating things I've already said, as if it were somehow contradicting me.

Based on what are you making this claim?

Based on my general understanding of moral theory and the minimal kinds of assumptions necessary to place the highest priority on the long-run future.

Also, have you surveyed theories within virtue ethics and deontology?

I am familiar with them.

They, and many of the population ethics theories that you link, frequently still imply a greater focus on the long-term future than on other social issues.

(I don't intend to go into more specific arguments here. If you care about this issue, go ahead and make a proper top-level post for it so that it can be debated in a proper context.)

At any rate, I'm not sure the number of theories is a better measure than number of philosophers or ethicists specifically

"Most" i.e. majority of theories weighted for how popular they are. That's what I meant by saying "across the distribution of current opinions and published literature." Though I don't have a particular reason to think that support for long term priorities comes disproportionately from popular or unpopular theories.

Are you 100% certain of a specific fully-specified ethical system? I don't think anyone should be. If you aren't, then shouldn't we call that "moral uncertainty" and find ways to deal with it?

No. First, if I'm uncertain between two ethical views, I'm genuinely ambivalent about what future me should decide: there's no 'value of information' here. Second, as I said in the original post, it's a pointless and costly exercise to preemptively try to figure out a fully-specified ethical system. I think we should take the mandate that we have, to follow some kind of Effective Altruism, and then answer moral questions if and when they appear and matter in the practice of this general mandate. Moral arguments need to be both potentially convincing and carrying practical ramifications for us to worry about moral uncertainty.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-14T00:44:25.720Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Refraining from actively redistributing to nonwhite countries is the norm even for most on the progressive left, and Torres himself seems to favor x-risk work over reducing global poverty, so this is not a credible definition of white supremacy. And favoring x-risk reduction over poverty reduction is pretty orthogonal to the object of contention here (which is: whether we should assign different conceptual priority to saving lives in advanced vs developing nations).

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-14T00:31:10.412Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Do you think these views dominate within EA longtermism?

I don't, but why do you ask? I don't see your point.

I'd guess that acceptance of the astronomical waste argument, specifically, is a minority view within ethics, both among philosophers and among published views

As I said previously, most theories imply it, but the field hasn't caught up. They were slow to catch onto LGBT rights, animal interests, and charity against global poverty; it's not surprising that they would repeat the same problem of taking too long to recognize priorities from a broader moral circle.

Even anti-realists can assign different weights to different views and intuitions. It can be statement about where you expect your views to go if you heard all possible arguments for and against.

But then there is scarce reason to defer to surveys of philosophers as guidance. Moral views are largely based on differences in intuition, often determined by differences in psychology and identity. Future divergences in your moral inclinations could be a random walk from your current position, or regression to the human population mean, or regression to the Effective Altruist mean.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-13T23:27:53.470Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't see any case to be made that the views being attacked here meaningfully cause such bad systemic power dynamics in the real world. Of course "power dynamics" can be defined pretty broadly, but then you run into the noncentral fallacy.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-13T23:06:00.323Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Note that Bostrom doesn't advocate preemptive nuclear strikes in this essay. Rather he says the level of force should be no greater than necessary to "reduce the threat to an acceptable level."

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-13T22:51:37.969Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Your comment makes points that are already addressed by my original post.

Historically arguments that justify horrendous activities have a high frequency of being utopia based (appealing to possible but uncertain future utopias).

This is selecting on the dependent variable. Nearly every reformer and revolutionary has appealed to possible but uncertain future utopias. Also most horrendous activities have been most greatly motivated by some form of xenophobia or parochialism, which is absent here.

If an argument leads to some ridiculous / repugnant conclusions that most people would object too then it is worth being wary of that argument.

Maybe at first glance, but it's a good idea to replace that first glance with a more rigorous look at pros and cons, which we have been doing for years. Also this is about consequentialist longtermism, not longtermism per se.

The philosophers who developed the long-termist astronomical waste argument openly use it to promote a range of abhorrent hawkish geopolitical responses (eg premptive nuclear strikes).

I don't find Bostrom's argument abhorrent, especially since he didn't actually promote preemptive nuclear strikes. And again, this confounds longtermism with act-consequentialist views.

There are problems with taking a simple expected value approach to decision making under uncertainty. Eg Pascal's mugging problems.

It's inappropriate to confound longtermism with EV maximization. It's not clear that doubting EV maximization will weaken, let alone end, the case for focusing on the long run. Loss-averse frameworks will care more about preventing existential risks and negative long-run trajectories. If you ignore tiny-probability events then you will worry less about existential risks but will still prioritize acceleration of our broad socioeconomic trajectory.

Generally speaking, EV maximization is fine and does a good job of beating its objections. Pascal's Mugging is answered by factoring in the optimizer's curse, noting that paying off the mugger incurs opportunity costs and that larger speculated benefits are less likely on priors.

People should move beyond merely objecting to EV maximization, and provide preferred formal characterizations that can be examined for real-world implications. They exist in the literature but in the context of these debates people always seem shy to commit to anything.

The astronomical waste type arguments are not robust to a range of different philosophical and non-utilitarian ethical frameworks

They are robust to a pretty good range of frameworks. I would guess that perhaps three-fourths of philosophical views, across the distribution of current opinions and published literature, would back up a broadly long-term focused view (not that philosophers themselves have necessarily caught up), although they won't necessarily be consequentialist about pursuing this priority.

(given ethical uncertainty) this makes them not great arguments

Assuming ethical uncertainty. I do not make this assumption: it requires a kind of false moral realism.

When non-Effective-Altruists open more leeway to us on the basis of moral uncertainty, we can respond in kind, but until then, deferring to ethical uncertainty is needless disregard for other people's well-being.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-10T05:16:26.175Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, yes, updating that to an 'honorable mention.'

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-09T23:32:56.651Z · score: 4 (11 votes) · EA · GW

Actually, I went out of my way to steelman what you wrote. So it is no wonder that it is a misrepresentation. The original criticisms are broadly sillier.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-06T19:48:28.462Z · score: 1 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I didn't share it because they were trying to make ~drama~ and attacking EAs. I just represented their general arguments.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-06T19:47:33.099Z · score: 2 (5 votes) · EA · GW

There seems to be, like, 1 serious person who believes it.

Guilt by correlation arguments in the basic sense are silly, but can actually be valid worries about the unintended consequences of sharing an idea. I'm not strawmanning, I actually tried to steelman.

I excluded the original source because it shouldn't be taken seriously as you say, but I still discussed the issue in the interest of fairness.


Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-06T16:19:32.055Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, I have adjusted it to show the additional assumption required.

Comment by kbog on Response to recent criticisms of EA "longtermist" thinking · 2020-01-06T09:49:02.478Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Here is an excerpt from Candidate Scoring System about the value of population size:

Folk assumptions about ‘overpopulation’ are flawed and must be dropped, making it unclear whether our population growth is too high or too low for total human welfare (Greaves 2019, Ord 2014). 19% of economists agree that the economic benefits of an expanding world population outweigh the economic costs and 29% agree with provisos; 48% disagree (Fuller and Geide-Stevenson 2014). There are also non-human consequences of having a larger population. Humans eat meat, and animal agriculture and aquaculture generally involve negative welfare (Bogosian 2019). Much of the land we occupy would otherwise be occupied by wilderness, but it’s not clear if wilderness has net negative animal welfare (Plant 2016). However, this consideration is small in the long run since we can expect animal farming to eventually become more humane or outmoded.
From what we can see, the social cost of the pollution of a typical person, even in the West, seems small in comparison to a person’s whole life and impacts. Per our air pollution section, we can tentatively say that the social cost of carbon, including other impacts of air pollution besides climate change, is less than $200/ton. This is $3,200 per American per year. Meanwhile, American GDP per capita is $59,500. Thus, the average American seems to contribute far more to the world through labor than what they destroy via air pollution. There are other downsides of population growth, but they seem unlikely to be much worse than air pollution, and there are other upsides as well.
Changing population size now may also have a large effect on long-run fertility. Jones (2019) provides a model of economic growth with endogenous fertility and suggests that actual population growth may be either higher or lower than optimal, but in particular he shows that under certain assumptions insufficient fertility could lead to an indefinitely declining population with a corresponding stagnation of wealth and knowledge. This counts as an existential threat to humanity, albeit a relatively slow and mundane one that might be overturned by a Darwinian mechanism.

Of course, killing someone is worse than deciding not to give birth to someone.

Comment by kbog on Consequences of animal product consumption (combined model) · 2020-01-04T20:10:34.309Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I can email the file to you, just message me your email address.

Comment by kbog on Consequences of animal product consumption (combined model) · 2020-01-04T19:28:26.744Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

This is how it displays in my browser when I am logged out, with a download button. In other browsers it is the same

https://i.imgur.com/xhf52wW.png