AID Data 2019-09-01T07:17:38.543Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Global basic education as a missing cause priority 2019-08-08T01:19:43.624Z · score: 0 (3 votes)
12 years of education as a missing cause priority 2019-08-07T02:49:59.160Z · score: 0 (6 votes)


Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-21T07:38:28.140Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Meta note: I am talking about primary and secondary education which is equivalent to high school education is US. Some schooling systems have vocational/trade school in years 10-12, instead of college track courses. Either way kids are staying in school for twelve years.

The country examples of the fast path that I gave "violate the money = well being rule", and show how some countries had better education and health before they became rich.


In all the examples that I gave Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Cuba, Japan(Meiji era), Kerala, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Costa Rica etc.. people became much better educated than their counterparts in other countries with similar levels of income (GDP/per capita)

Educated citizens benefitted by being healthier, knowing how to avoid disease, when to go to doctor, how to follow instructions, being better able to advocate for themselves. Knowledge of human biology led to desire to control fertility, which in turn led to use of contraceptives, this also involves negotiating fertility in a marriage, which the husbands usually control in agricultural societies. Being able to understand and participate in modern societies is enhanced by education.


Thus, government investment into education may increase as a result of prioritization of trade and industrialization in the first place.

Not true. Countries that prioritized trade and industrialization stayed on the slow path. E.g. India with its efforts on import substitution industrialization policies, while neglecting basic education and health, this has continued even after opening up the economy with the result that India is far behind China, and is behind Bangladesh in some human development indicators (life expectancy in India is 68 vs 72 in Bangladesh), despite rapid economic growth.

Also if trade is so important, why were China and India so far behind at independence? After all China opened its economy to free (opium) trade, and India was ruled by UK, the leading light of industrialization and trade.


Costa Rica, my knowledge is from HPA (1989) where Sen and Dreze talk about Costa Rica as a model from which lessons could be learnt. This is prior to intel's investment in 1995.


Regarding Singapore basic education was an important part of what it did right. This report sheds more light. Industrial policy, trade etc were the other things that they did right.

Countries that have universal primary education and 50% secondary education (high school equivalent) have done best, link.

Manufacturing jobs require 8-12 years of schooling. That may seem like low skill or little education, but it is an extraordinary achievement for countries that are primarily agricultural.


Sen has a lot to say about China " By 1979, when the economic reform came, the Chinese life expectancy was already 68 years; the Indian life expectancy was 54 years, 14 years behind it."

"There are really major lessons there, and I might say also one of the unsung contributions of the pre-reform educational and health care expansion is, I believe, the radical economic expansion that took place in the 1980s. After the economic reform, it would have been very hard without the base of elementary education which China had and India did not at that time, which is still a factor which bothers India badly."

"Look at Kerala’s policy for universal education and universal healthcare. The Communist Party first come into office in 1957, they declared their policy in 1960. 1963 I’m in Delhi teaching in Delhi School of Economics and people ask me “Do you think it’s feasible?” I said “absolutely feasible”. Primarily for one economic reason, namely that you need far less money than you would need in, say, Britain to provide that level of healthcare and education.

This argument is not very sophisticated but on the other hand it could make a dramatic difference between life and death. Many of my colleagues at Delhi School of Economics said that I’m just leading people up the garden path, as an economist I should criticise, because Kerala was the third poorest state in India then. How could they afford it? And my claim was the economic argument. Also there being externalities and the “public good feature” as economists call it. I was certain that on top of that, for reasons which we began with, that the policies would also stimulate economic growth and development. In the latest round of national sample survey, if you put the urban and rural together, Kerala has now the highest per capita income in the whole of India. I would have thought some people who thought I was leading people up the garden path would say that they were mistaken. Have I got such statements? I’m afraid I have not! Am I happy that my expectations have been fulfilled? Yes, very happy indeed. Not for myself, that’s a trivial thing. But the fact that a people-friendly education and health policy could make a difference, not only to their lives – which happened immediately, life expectancy shot up in Kerala straight away – but also ultimately on economic growth"

Sure China could invest more in education once it became rich, but how was China in 1979 able to have universal primary education and more than 50% of its kids under 18 finish 9th grade?


Japan under Meiji Restoration was 1860-1900, we can be sure that the rise of Japan pre first world war had nothing to do with US- Japan military alliance.

I am not talking about "development" which in EA means money, I am talking about how health and education levels changed in the timeframe 1860-1900 when the country was poor.


Regarding South Africa and Japan, Japan today is an aging society with low fertility rate and hence less kids needing to be educated. It makes sense that they spend less on education. The other way in which Japan is different is that Japan has 4 generations of educated people for the last 100 years, South Africa is full of second generation learners even today, and virtually nobody has gone to college. It makes sense that they are spending money on education today.

I should have been more clearer the "developed" South Africa with its apartheid regime pre 1994 did not invest in education and those effects are still being felt today, good for them that the current democratic government is spending on education. Even so Bangladesh which is four times poorer has an additional 10 years of life expectancy over South Africa


Thus, if keeping children in school is not very beneficial to them, maybe something else, such as deworming, may be a better option to invest your donations. If children suffer from schistosomiasis (intestinal worms) then cannot focus and so gain little from the time they spend in school. Does this make sense?

Deworming is so cheap because it leverages preexisting schools, I did donate to deworming charities a few years ago. The goal of deworming is two fold, to improve health and to improve education. If you read Give Wells reports they only place value on improvements in health!!! Why are the educational gains unimportant Give Well?


This makes sense that the EA community does not value outputs as much as outcomes of education. ...(e.g. "earnings or health") outcomes

The most respected and widely used index for measuring human well being is the human development index, it includes education as an outcome, valuable for its own sake, the EA community has to explain why it deems education not useful while the UNDP thinks that it is important.


It's not for the lack of money that the world is in the state that is in today.

"The lack of political commitment not of financial resources, is often the real cause of human neglect. That is the main conclusion of Human Development Report 1991"

Human priority concerns according to UNDP are Basic Education, Basic Health, Water supply and sanitation, Nutrition programs and Family planning services.

The 1996 HDR is interesting

"Why is income part of the human development index? Longevity and education are clearly valuable aspects of a good life"

"A new measure of national wealth

Economists had long assumed that the main component of a country's productive wealth is physical capital ("produced assets"). But according to the World Bank's assessment for 192 countries, physical capital on average accounts for only 16% of total wealth. More important is natural capital, which accounts for 20%. And more important still is human capital, which accounts for 64%."

"In 1960 Pakistan and the Republic of Korea had similar incomes. Rut they had very different primary school enrolment ratios-30% in Pakistan, 94% in the Republic of Korea one of the main reasons that over the next 25 years the per capita GDP of the Republic of Korea grew to three times that of Pakistan."

"Even "unskilled" workers in a modern factory need the literacy, numeracy and discipline learned in primary and lower-secondary school"

"It generally is easier to deal with the "good human development and poor growth" problem than with the opposite-poor human development with good growth."

"Experience suggests that no country undergoes a structural transformation of the economy without raising basic education levels. The well-known links between female education and fertility, between education and productivity and between mother's education and children's educational attainment all explain why this is so"

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-21T03:52:57.850Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Actually, what do you think is the most cost-effective method of providing children (any) education?

Figure out why they are not in school, enroll them in school, make sure they attend, and finally see if there are any easy interventions that can be made (like teaching at right level). But most important keep kids in school for 12 years of schooling even if they seem to be learning nothing on tests.


the India case is clear, they did a better job of educating kids than Pakistan. Bangladesh is behind India but not too far behind in educational terms, my guess is that they spend more on primary healthcare than India which can explain the difference in life expectancy.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-20T07:39:34.103Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

hey, thanks for the conversation

'Great Convergence' in education is an outcome of increasing global output, which is based on higher trade.

My research shows that it is the other way around, first comes education, which results in better health and finally better incomes.

Going back to the very first example that I gave: Pakistan until recently had more money than India, and even today is ahead of Bangladesh. However Bangladesh has better life expectancy than India which in turn has better life expectancy than Pakistan.

In terms of education Pakistan has always lagged India and Bangladesh and continues to do so, the money that they have does not seem to have helped. Side note Bangladesh lags India in education, but still is ahead in terms of some human development indicators, they are doing something right that I don't fully understand.


The problems of education systems are serious, it would be good if they are fixed. But fixing them before children are enrolled means that the kids get no education at all. Even flawed education is better than no education. I note that the person in the TED talk is talking about British system of education, the talk has no relevance in agricultural countries with first generation learners.

I agree the educational systems are deeply flawed, but they are not destructive. Whoever is not reached by those flawed educational systems is left behind.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-19T08:40:10.118Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

on writing. 1) it takes time, 2) this forum privileges english speakers 3) the emphasis on writing becomes a hurdle for people for whom skill in written communication is so-so


the exceptions to money = well being rule are Jamaica, Costa Rica, Kerala, China (pre 1979 reforms), Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Cuba, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong (pre 1999), Japan (Meiji reforms). In all these countries(kerala is a state) focus on basic education preceded health and wealth, this is the fast path to human development.

The slow path is by focusing on money, trade, industrialization at the expense of basic education and health. India is an average example of this slow path. South Africa is an almost perfect example of doing the wrong things, and crawling on the slow path.

EA community is on the slow path unfortunately. Ignoring the most important component of the human development index, which is basic education. Give Well even going as far as saying "We do not place much intrinsic value on increasing time in school or tests"

I fully agree with you that education in say India is geared towards elites, which means college and professional education, while neglecting basic education which should be the emphasis for any society.

Regarding the Great Convergence, I will say that it is a great convergence in education first and then everything is a consequence.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-19T06:25:20.034Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sen was an influence in the creation of HDI, yet he was somewhat hesitant to use one index to summarize human well being. Hunger and Public Action has a set of indicators that Sen looked in 1989 (HPA was published at that time). Other indicators to think about are MDG goals and SDG goals. Not all of the goals are equally important, but they point in the right direction, we should think about them.

The indicators that I look at to tell the state of society

  1. U5MR Under 5 mortality Rate
  2. TFR Total fertility rate
  3. Expected education levels for school age kids below age 18.
  4. Gender disparities in 3) above

I have given very little thought to Gross National Happiness Index, it looks like an expanded/altered version of HDI

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-17T03:09:29.804Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks MichaelStJules, this is not a one day phenomenon, it is a long term trend encompassing significant fraction of world population over a 50+ year timeframe. So its worth thinking about why that is the case, I am not entirely sure either, Pakistan with its focus on military has done worse even though they were richer at independence, India has done better because it is more democratic? Bangladesh is an unusual case, they becaume independent 20+ years ater India, they caught up, overtook india with an economy that is consistently worse than India. So what social policies caused this? That is a question worth asking.

USA spends twice the money and in ranked lower. Social policies in other rich countries esp universal healthcare makes the difference?

Amartya Sen compares income, health, education indices quite extensively in his book "Hunger and Public Action", and "An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions"

No cherry picking, I am following ideas and methods used by the best in the field of human development.

(Hunger and Public action will be available online in 10 days, it will become open access)

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-17T02:32:04.653Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks Sanjay,

but if it is possible to invest a relatively small amount of money to generate a relatively large amount of money for the global poor, then that surely seems like a good thing?

Specifically on this one, trade is one of the fundamental ways countries interact in the world, and how they internally structure their societies. Thats a lot of power, and getting it wrong, can mean a lot of harm. Also if US decides to make give favorable terms to (say) India, it means that the constituency that is paying the cost is dilute and not so powerful, powerful interests would try to stop anything that reduces their power. There is a long ugly history of powerful actors giving nice cover stories "civilizing", "free trade" and doing extraordinary harm.

50x to 80x more valuable than doubling consumption for one person for one year

I read it as: if 80 people double their income for one year ~= 1 life move 90 people people from bangladesh to india for one year == 90 * 7000 / (2*3900) ~= 1 life??? if they live another 50 years in india == 50 lifes????

Ignoring discounting a simpler way to think of it is: if a persons income doubles for life then ~~== an extra life???

I find this morality hard to swallow. If this seems moral to you, please explain how.

I want to be an order of magnitude away at least, say 500 - 1000 person years of double income is approx 1 life.

Why was my original post relevant: here is my thinking First, the post basis itself on givewell moral weights if they are off by 10, then the estimate is off by 10. So cost become $180 * 10 ~= which is in the same ballpark as other give well charities. Second, EA community is dominated by thinking about poverty, and influence from economists, does another post on trade really add value? Is the author aware of the exceptions to money = well being rule? Also read

About downvoting: If you had downvoted along with any comment, I would have been thrilled. Mostly I get anonymous downvotes, which is hard to take. When I look at voting on my comments I see that I end up at zero, or negative, but unusually more people vote on the comment. This is an indicator that I am controversial, so a learning opportunity for either me or the down voters.

It is somewhat intimidating when I see that people who work at EA organizations have mostly gone to the best universities. (I did not go to one)

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-15T19:48:47.734Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

for those who downvote, please explain yourself its frustrating to contribute to the forum, and have a negative karma the more the forum does it the less I feel welcome

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Some personal thoughts on EA and systemic change · 2019-10-15T07:10:23.608Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sometimes systemic change critiques come from a Marxist perspective that assumes Marxist revolution will produce a utopia, whereas empirically such revolution has been responsible for impoverishing billions of people, mass killing, the Cold War, (with risk of nuclear war) and increased tensions between China and democracies, creating large object-level disagreements with many EAs who want to accurately forecast the results of political action

This is the weakest part of the post. EA does not have the power to cause systemic change anyways, a better understanding of the various systems of the world, their histories, achievements and failures would help in taking better micro decisions of what charities to fund, for those of us with less than $100K per year to give.

Given the negative effect when countries involve in others political systems, I would totally stay away from such efforts, and focus on well understood health or education charities that dont carry such a risk.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and International Trade · 2019-10-15T06:45:41.171Z · score: 2 (5 votes) · EA · GW

While money can be important, there is no straight line from money to well being.

In terms of money for a significant time Pakistan > India > Bangladesh, now India > Pakistan > Bangladesh

However on health U5MR the order was Pakistan ~= India ~= Bangladesh however today Bangladesh < India < Pakistan For U5MR less is better

The obsession with economic growth is the curse of the world, the sooner that the world gets off the train the better we will all be.

I strongly disagree with Givewell on the importance of money vs life. India on PPP terms has approx double income as bangladesh (7000 vs 3900), according to givewell's calculations indinas have 1.8 times better life than bangladeshis, this is absurd when bangladeshis are living longer than Indians.

Data sources below.!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:BGD:PAK:IND&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=sh_dyn_mort&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:BGD:PAK:IND&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

Comment by lucy-ea8 on The ITN framework, cost-effectiveness, and cause prioritisation · 2019-10-09T04:18:58.082Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · EA · GW

The examples given above all have scale, however scale/importance should not be ignored. If X has great marginal cost-effectiveness but needs only a millon dollars to solve, it is a waste of time for the EA community to think and discuss about it. That kind of money can be easily raised, and once the problem is solved can be forgotten.

On economic growth, it is not clear that the investments in economists is the reason for policy change in India or China, it is/was obvious to everyone that Western World is the most powerful, and everybody around the world was looking for lessons from the West. In fact most the developing world tried to quickly industrialize (using various paths, some succesful some not). Also Lant's analysis ignores other factors that may have contributed to the economic growth.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Effective Altruism and Everyday Decisions · 2019-09-20T03:05:21.393Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · EA · GW

How our societies are structured makes a huge difference. Europeans* have half the CO2 footprint as Americans. I assume they have roughly similar quality of life and happiness.

*I understand Europe is not a monolith, this is just rule of thumb thinking

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Cause X Guide · 2019-09-05T19:12:46.424Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

global poverty

EA emphasis is on "Global Health and Poverty", the missing cause X here is Basic Education, I suggest that the cause area should be "Global Basic Education and Health"

Basic education being 12 years / high school equivalent in USA.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Cause X Guide · 2019-09-05T18:02:56.522Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

we did not have universal literacy before we had universal primary education (and countries without universal primary education still don't!

This is KEY, in already industrialized countries kids may learn on their own or via homeschooling. For society as a whole public education is necessary, otherwise kids don't learn.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-26T01:05:02.817Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I fully support Global Health as a cause priority, health has intrinsic value. Education also reduces suffering (and is valuable for its own sake, has intrinsic value), why is it excluded in EA?

Education in agricultural societies is in terrible shape, even that education is valuable for kids who would otherwise have no education. I have no expertise on what should be in that curriculum. My take is simpler: give kids 12 years basic education, whatever is the norm in those societies (and also take relevant global input). Yes that includes playing sports at school.

There is no straight line from money to well being. See my downvoted example below comparing South Africa and Philippines. Another example is life expectancy in USA vs other industrial countries. Or maternal mortality rate is USA vs other industrialized countries.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on How do you decide between upvoting and strong upvoting? · 2019-08-25T18:30:18.951Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Related: how do people decide to downvote? My comments consistently get downvoted. Would love to know why.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-23T01:15:06.204Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Education has instrumental value, it more importantly has intrinsic value.

From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article

One of the most comprehensive lists of intrinsic goods that anyone has suggested is that given by William Frankena ....consciousness,.... truth; knowledge and true opinions of various kinds, understanding, wisdom;

All of which in various forms are based on the foundation of basic education. I have consciousness of the world and universe because of my education, without which I would have less consciousness.

intrinsic value has been characterized above in terms of the value that something has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.”

For me education is valuable “in itself”, “for its own sake”, “as such”, “in its own right.”

I notice that I used the language of intrinsic value, the question uses "for its own sake" before I was aware of the SEP article.

Also "development" has no intrinsic value, why is it headlining EA efforts? I would prefer EA to emphasize "Global Education and Health" over "Global Health and Development"

Comment by lucy-ea8 on List of ways in which cost-effectiveness estimates can be misleading · 2019-08-21T05:14:59.701Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Fairness and health equity. Cost-effectiveness estimates typically treat all health gains as equal. However, many think that priority should be given to those with severe health conditions and in disadvantaged communities, even if it leads to less overall decline in suffering or illness (Nord, 2005, Cookson et al. (2017), Kamm (2015)).

One other example is rural vs urban, it might be more cost-effective to solve a problem (say school attendance) in cities but costlier in rural settings. Just focusing on urban setting is wrong in this context. It seems discriminatory.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-19T04:49:44.848Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Education has intrinsic value.

It changes outlook towards life, how people participate in everyday society, what hopes and dreams they have. What choices they make in their lives.

Illiterate women in agricultural societies gain autonomy via education. It allows them to (partially) resist patriarchy, to choose to have small families, any yes to participate in public discourse, and industrial economy.

Women's suffragette movement picked steam after women became literate/educated

Civil rights movement happened after African American's became literate/educated

All the independence leaders of colonial countries were literate/educated.

Every single society that became rich, first became literate / educated. And countries that did not educate themselves stayed agricultural/poor. Argentina is a good example of this, a hundred years ago it was on par with UK in terms of money, but was behind in terms of education. It consistently did not prioritize education and can now be compared to china instead of UK.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on How do you, personally, experience "EA motivation"? · 2019-08-18T10:10:23.633Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

A search for root causes, and putting myself in other peoples shoes led me to EA. I did not accept poverty and death in the world as a given, and asking questions about root causes led me down a path of reading and questioning. It helped that I now try to put myself in others people shoes. Trying to read about what people say in their own words. e.g.

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla

Eyes off the Prize by Carol Anderson

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-18T07:37:22.336Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I heard the podcast before, but it helped to go through it again. I learnt about LAYS (Learning Adjusted Years of Schooling) and went through the links for articles, interesting stuff. Thanks.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-12T06:36:25.687Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Here is an example where straight relationship between money and health does not hold

Country---> Philippines South Africa
Gross National Income per capita (ppp) $ 4,002 $9,812
Life expectancy (years) 72.3 52
Mean years of schooling 8.7 8.2

Figure 2. Perspicuous contrasts: The Philippines does more with less

(Data from the 2010 UNDP Human Development Report)

Source Sen’s Capability Approach

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-11T08:13:54.241Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks saulius. Another way of thinking about oxygen is that is fundamentally important for our life. Likewise I see basic education as necessary to participate in daily life in this global world. Caring about global development is one thing, but EA community gives it headline space in one of its 3 main causes/focus areas (Global health and development, X-risk, Animal welfare). I believe education should be added for its intrinsic value.

If we care about Global development for its consequences, I feel that it is getting too much headline space.Education allows individuals to avoid preventable diseases, hunger (via better participation in the industrial economy). Therefore "Global Health, Education and Development" makes sense and dropping it seems to be a mistake.

Also Human Development Index consists of three parts "life expectancy, education, and per capita income" if the most widely used index for thinking about human welfare uses education as one of its three components, why does EA retain two of them and drop education without a solid explanation?

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-10T02:01:43.932Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I see education as oxygen or water, those are not mentioned in the list either. That is a very western, developed world list. In the poor parts of the world I assume they might say lack of hunger, malaria, ill-treatment etc..

Are you sure that you value education intrinsically?

I see basic education (high school equivalent) as an intrinsic value. (I watched the video)

It is also interesting that the video says that money does not have intrinsic value, but Global (economic) development is a headline priority for EA.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Global basic education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-09T01:46:22.109Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hello, thanks for the links, I read through them. Giving What We Can depends strongly on Give Well. Both of them conclude or assume that education has no intrinsic value Give Well says "We do not place much intrinsic value on increasing time in school" and Giving What We Can says "...suggests that years in education does not itself increase happiness"

This is really puzzling since EA community is highly educated (from elite universities?) Education is what I value most in my life.

Why does the EA community think "Global health and (economic?) development" is more important that Global Education or atleast equal in importance?

Also see

Comment by lucy-ea8 on 12 years of education as a missing cause priority · 2019-08-08T19:15:59.349Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · EA · GW
  1. EA priorities in expectation maximise some objective function.

My question is why is global education not an objective function that we are seeking to maximise?

This question is slightly misstated by me, the question I intended to ask is here

Edit: Secondly even if no interventions can be found for say global health, it would remain as a goal, value, objective function.

I find the absence of education at the top to be puzzling. Why is the objective function "Global health and development" and not "Global Education, Health and Development"? Even if one cant find interventions the goals are statements of what we find valuable.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Why has poverty worldwide fallen so little in recent decades outside China? · 2019-08-08T07:31:50.617Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Much of the progress will be driven by economic growth in Asia, and India in particular. The number of people in extreme poverty in Africa is expected to stagnate

Education in India is behind China by about 30 years, and economic growth also is behind. Africa will do better than expected, partly the estimates are based on UN population projections which are too pessimistic for Africa.

Africa is behind India in terms of education and it will take them time to pick up in terms of economic growth.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Why has poverty worldwide fallen so little in recent decades outside China? · 2019-08-08T07:27:08.651Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Instead of money a better way to measure well being is per capita consumption of energy, and levels of education.

Energy consumption is unequal because we live in unequal societies and have lived in these societies since Agricultural revolution 10000 years ago. This is by necessity a finite sum game, and people who grabbed a big share are unaware of the big share that they have taken let alone sharing it equitably.

In terms of education, India and other countries that have done worse than China, have done worse in terms of education, which means more population growth than China and lower standard of living. Education (lack of it) can be easily solved but I have not seen political will on a global scale. As far as I can tell even EA community neglects basic education (12 years/high school equivalent in USA)

The following article is good reading for importance of energy Supplemental energy puts humans in charge

Comment by lucy-ea8 on "Why Nations Fail" and the long-termist view of global poverty · 2019-08-06T05:07:16.692Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · EA · GW

This is a great book explaining why England industrialized first and why institutions matter. However subsequent transitions from agricultural economies to industrial does not need to follow same paths. They can get the benefits by copying all the knowledge of industrialization and improve well being (without becoming rich)

I am not convinced that USSR collapse was inevitable or that China will collapse. China seems to have deeply studied USSR collapse and tries to its lessons. Will it succeed? Not sure.

Being productive in the industrial age means using energy and know how to churn out products for world or local markets.

Agricultural economies on the other hand were always extractive and poor, because they relied on dilute power from sun. And education was of not much help in those societies.

Not discussing energy or education is a problem of the book.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on What book(s) would you want a gifted teenager to come across? · 2019-08-05T15:57:44.674Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I recommend the book Hunger and Public Action. It has one of the best explanations on how nations change and improve the quality of life of their citizens. It discusses famine, and deaths in the statistical sense (not graphical), so please read it before giving it to kids. It also discusses how countries have done better or worse and hence has lessons on what policies are good or bad. One of the most important books to read for EA (if not kids).

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism · 2019-08-02T00:37:19.467Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I can easily ruin systems with a poorly spent $10m regardless of how hard it is to fix them.

I understand, Give Well recommendations are not going down a path of destruction. So I am not worried. I would be really worried when they try to influence policies.

Also in the big picture I think AID helps if directed well, but it is a small part of the budgets of poor countries and can only be expected (in the big scheme of things) to have small effects. Most of the improvement has come from people/national governments improving their countries.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism · 2019-07-30T06:37:01.413Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I'm arguing that this isn't "small amounts of money,"

I am not convinced. In proportion to the needs, the amount seems small, also the money is spent in several countries and hence per capita spending is low (I doubt it goes above $10 per person per year in any of the health interventions SMC is at $7).

undermines the need for local governments to take responsibility, etc.

local governments do take responsibility, what they can achieve in their circumstances is limited though. hence the need for money and outside support.

it is well into the amounts where international funding displaces building local expertise

I am not sure I understand why international funding should displace local expertise, why are the international funders, not funding local organizations? and building local leadership? taking help from local expertise? I think local partners and leaders should take front seat

makes it harder to focus on building health systems generally instead of focusing narrowly

This part I agree, but if overall funding is limited then it makes sense for individuals to look for narrow effects. Give Well is good at this for EA movement, since EA is small compared to the needs. By the same token Give Well type analysis makes less sense at a government to government level when entire health departments are supported. The building of those health institutions takes a long time, the results come slowly with a time lag of 10+ years. Even then they have interactions with the rest of societal institutions like education, economy.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Making discussions in EA groups inclusive · 2019-07-29T05:34:23.670Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the post, I found this post and the following post Why & How to Make Progress on Diversity & Inclusion in EA to be very useful.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism · 2019-07-18T07:40:15.981Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I agree that small amounts of money could in theory have systemic side effects, but that is only if the money is spent on effecting something critical (say influencing the outcome of election etc..). Most of Give Well money is spent on health interventions which are far less likely to have critical systemic side effects.

The worst I could think of them is that they are insensitive/disrespectful to the local populations and have no health effect. Neither of these possible outcomes are critically negative in the systemic sense.

Two international health interventions are running into local resistance 1) Polio Vaccination in Pakistan 2) Ebola treatment in Democratic Republic of Congo neither of the efforts seem bad in my opinion.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism · 2019-07-11T04:05:21.053Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. Give Well is big, and is about 100 million dollars a year. And about 50 million from individual donors (less than 1 million a year). This is not much money in the overall scheme of things. Even if Malaria and schistosomiasis are fulled funded by that 50 million, there are many more things to do.

There 5 million kids dying every year 1 2, lets say 4 million are preventable, give well cost per life saved estimate is lets say $1000 of lower end.

The required funding to solve child deaths is 4 billion a year, just for this alone.

We have to think about unintended effects, but there are likely to be marginal and small.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Charity Vouchers [public policy idea] · 2019-07-11T03:46:29.805Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I expect most of the money to be given to local charities and not to government or to charities like give well. UBC (Universal Basic Charity) will quickly turn into UBI. That not a bad thing either.

Overall I expect it to have the same effects as UBI.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Corporate Global Catastrophic Risks (C-GCRs) · 2019-07-09T09:01:54.261Z · score: -1 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I wholeheartedly agree that non-capitalist system are strictly worse than capitalist ones and have cited evidence that corporations do a huge amount of good in the world. I'm not denying that reducing ill-effects from socialist systems (see Venezuela) still deserve a lot of attention.

Let me start by agreeing that the people of Venezuela are in deep distress, and ill served by the ruling government.

I am not a fan of -isms and labels. Is public education socialist? how about public universal healthcare (like in Europe or Japan)? North Korea calls itself DPRK (Democratic.. Republic) I laugh at it and don't take it seriously, why should we take it seriously when Venezuela claims that it is socialist? Anyway what do broad terms like socialism and capitalism mean? When did USA become capitalist? How about Britain? India? China? South Africa? Guatemala? Socialist/communist/capitalist institutions are steeply hierarchical and with few exceptions have male leaders, likewise kingdoms before that were male led and steeply hierarchical. I see more similarities between the various -isms than differences.

I think the world we see today is an effect of industrialization, and the political systems today are reflections of that, on an evolutionary substrate of human behavior that is atleast a million years in the making.

==== added later ====

sigh the questions are serious ones, if downvoting please tell me why either via private message or as a reply


Comment by lucy-ea8 on Advice for an Undergrad · 2019-07-09T07:51:14.849Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Don't put your hopes on working at any EA organization. Dream careers in any field are really hard to come by. Focus on finding meaningful work could be in industry or non profit. In terms of studying I like AI/statistics/CS. Evolution is much better than Economics, you can gain a lot by watching Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA)

Most importantly try to shed your deep rooted conditioning / biases. Humanity's worst trait is ingroup thinking Overcoming it is a challenge, but the rewards are great.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-09T07:12:41.754Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think you may find pro-free-trade people in favor of IP reform, these are rather separate issues.

Intellectual Monopolies are restrictions on Trade, when trade hurts profitability of the powers that be, they see are happy to support monopoly and see no contradiction.

When human rights are affected negatively by trade (slave trade, colonialism/capitalism, opium war), trade takes first place if necessary by force.

the countries are still willingly taking these deals so they are better than nothing.

Kings lasted thousands of years, Communism lasted for 50+ years (depending on region), colonialism lasted 400+ years. Slavery is thousands of years old. Just because something exists does not mean it is good for humanity. Nor does it mean consent. People try to survive as best as they can given their circumstances.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-09T06:24:01.306Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks much, that was good reading. Education is not like Childbirth or Breast Cancer (99% female) which are women specific. It makes sense that Girls learning outcomes can be improved without specifically targeting them. However access to school should be done specifically by targeting them.

Hypothetically if only 50% of kids can be educated, having them be all boys is much worse than if 50% of all genders make it to school. Thankfully we don't need to make such a choice there is enough money to educate everyone to 12 years of education regardless of gender. Whats lacking is political will.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-07T03:24:58.033Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing your story. I am short of time and keeping this brief.

And I don't support free trade because I think it worked with slaves or opium, I support it because I think it works now, according to the best economic evidence that we have.

Thats an understandable position. I am skeptical of Free Trade because it was used to justify Slave trade and opium trade. Why should I assume that this time is different?

To take a more contemporary example: "IP" is a restriction on Trade, yet the same people who are for "Free Trade" are for "IP" more correctly called "Intellectual Monopolies". Read Against Intellectual Monopoly

Wikipedia, Linux are perfect examples of lack of monopolies in knowledge. And can be traded freely, the positive welfare effects are enormous.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-07T03:09:55.746Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Many of the judgments we have moved away from since the earlier days of EA seem to be cases where we did the sort of things "altruism" is evocative of, and increasingly we find ourselves doing the "justice" things.

Thanks for writing this. I am relatively new to EA it helps to understand history.

I think about justice without judging people, I hope that avoids hostility.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-07T03:04:54.377Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

You may be interested in Founders' Pledge report: Women's Empowerment

Thanks for this.

But maybe the best interventions aren't easy or efficient to target towards women only

There has been very little effort to find and prove this. I have seen very little research from give well or else where on women's issues.

Give Directly could easily run a pilot and test giving to women only. I cant imagine why this would be inefficient.

When there is actual discrimination e.g. missing women It means that women's lives are less happier. A track of "saving lives" would not care about this difference. (As the list of top charities of Give Well show). A justice oriented thinking would adjust for this and spend more money of women's empowerment.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-07T02:40:26.175Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I am just trying to paint the bigger picture. Whatever the politics in USA are, emigration from around the world will decrease going forward. As countries start to have better human development people will decide to stay home more. Which is why the example of mexico is important, going further back South Koreans, Japanese used to move not anymore, going even further back Italians, Swedish etc moved to USA.

In 20 years net immigration per year into USA will start to fall with no end in sight.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-07T01:51:06.422Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

An "altruistic" position might be to pass a quick bill, no political strings attached, giving funding to CBP to just improve the conditions at the camps and expedite processing, leaving bigger decisions for later. The "justice" position could be to fight tooth and nail to abolish CBP/ICE instead.

Thinking and talking about justice does not mean lack of pragmatics politics. One could point out the injustice of immigration law and still compromise.

Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice?

Since EA is not an electoral political movement, thinking in terms of justice makes more sense. This allows space to carefully think the world. Electoral politics are not good analogies for what EA should do.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-05T07:56:38.588Z · score: 1 (4 votes) · EA · GW

We're equipped to make right decisions regardless of these subtle things.

None of give well top charities focus on women or girls, given that women and girls are valued less in poor countries, from a strictly utilitarian perspective, this is a miss for the EA movement

Malala Fund has a report that claims girls education is the world best investment I dont see serious research from EA community on this front either.

Atleast the CEA has a good page on gender and inclusion. Its not actual recommendations of any charity, but its a start.

Justice (goals) must inform institutions and policy.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-05T07:17:50.786Z · score: -2 (3 votes) · EA · GW

but often includes a hardline commitment to open borders or at least opposition to effective security measures against illegal immigrants.

This statement is flat out wrong. There is no commitment to open borders. It was well known in 2015 that illegal immigration was going down.

Obama was known as deporter in chief Overall illegal immigration is down and has gone negative from Mexico

Immigration from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala will continue for another 10 years and taper off as the fertility rates fall

As of today I see the "left" position or justice position is to treat asylum seekers and illegal immigrants humanely.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Should we talk about altruism or talk about justice? · 2019-07-05T04:42:31.038Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I did not downvote (or upvote). Thinking about effectiveness is very useful, however I am not sold on the idea of Altruism, I think in terms of justice. I have unjust power how can I give it up for the greater good?

Not asking how and why we have so much power is a blindness that I see in the EA movement. This also leads to assumptions that "Free Trade" is good. Were the Opium wars "free trade"? Was the trans atlantic slave trade "Free Trade"?

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Aid Scepticism and Effective Altruism · 2019-07-05T01:34:46.640Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · EA · GW

The core of Singer’s argument is the principle that, if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought, morally, to do so. We can. So we should.

This is solid. I fully agree. Individuals in th EA movement can avoid the pitfalls that might come from large scale initiatives. For EA's until their individual donations collectively become large the unintended systemic effects can be ignored.

Comment by lucy-ea8 on Overview of Capitalism and Socialism for Effective Altruism · 2019-06-16T06:31:24.480Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Its not very interesting to think about Capitalism and Socialism because the terms are too broad. I see Chomsky mentioned in other posts. He is an Anarchist

Also it is not clear to me how countries should be classified, and also how they changed over time. E.g. which year UK become capitalist? how about USA? How should Nigeria, India, China be described today? Also how should one describe Nigeria, India, China pre independence?

We can try to look at it public policy. Are free public schools socialist or capitalist? How about free public healthcare? How about social security or Medicare?