AID Data 2019-09-01T07:17:38.543Z
Global basic education as a missing cause priority 2019-08-08T01:19:43.624Z
12 years of education as a missing cause priority 2019-08-07T02:49:59.160Z


Comment by lucy.ea8 on Helping the poorest without managing birth control creates vicious circle · 2020-03-26T06:04:30.447Z · EA · GW

High fertility and death rates are normal for illiterate societies, this has been the way we lived for 1000's of years. The way to low fertility and low death rates is via basic education.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2020-03-25T23:28:08.085Z · EA · GW
-Social movements (eg Fair Trade, Black Lives Matter, drug reform/prison reform movements)

I have been part of a few. Those perspectives are really useful.

· Global poverty that isn’t health. I'd like to see a handful of people in EA with expertise in, for example, climate policy, or education charities, or energy poverty in a developing world context.

Education and Human Development Indicators are something that EA needs to pick up.

No takers so far. As can be seen from the votes on my comments.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Why not give 90%? · 2020-03-24T03:56:05.211Z · EA · GW

After spending more than half a billion dollars, and potentially directing more than 100 millon dollars every year. EA community has no understanding of why HDI was created, and has no answer for why Education was dropped.

"Global health and development" = HDI - Education

It is not a question of money, it is a question of Diversity and Inclusion.

My hypothesis is that if humanity really understands how the world works then the problems can be solved easily, otherwise we will keep putting effort into less effective ways, sure EA is more effective but it still has far to go, the deficit in EA is not money it is understanding.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Why not give 90%? · 2020-03-23T23:48:50.672Z · EA · GW

Thanks trammell. I notice that only you told me why, I assume I got 5 downvotes at a minimum.

While not directly on topic, giving more is about bigger impact, if D&I is poor EA impact is worse. That's why I responded. My thinking is that money is not the constraint an understanding or lack of it is the constraint in improving the world. For which EA needs open hearts and minds, not

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Why not give 90%? · 2020-03-23T06:34:05.628Z · EA · GW

hey, interesting post. i dont think EAers should beat themselves up about how much they donate or not donate. anybody who gives 10% for EA has done more than 99.99% of humanity, that is worth a good nights sleep with a clear conscience.

However the EA community should ask, if they are missing a cause priority. Why EA won't talk about race, gender, intersectionality etc.. EA will be more effective if those lenses are used. Likewise diversity in EA is poor, the papers and experts referred to are western, with little representation of voices from people around the world. The just concluded EA Global is a good example of this, even "Global Health and Development" track featured two people from the USA.

"Global Health and Development" itself is problematic framing, the UN via UNDP has published the Human Development Index, EA should be at a minimum focused on Human Development Indicators and not arbitrarily decide according to their biases.

(To people who want to downvote please explain why)

Comment by lucy.ea8 on AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell · 2020-03-22T20:49:03.244Z · EA · GW

Answer from Elie Hassenfeld source

Q) On Gender Inequality, reproductive health, etc., GiveWell hasn’t done much work on this. Do you see gender equality as having intrinsic value? What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment?


  • We’re broadly consequentialist in the giving that we do - focused on the direct impact on the world
  • We take that utilitarian perspective rather than the philosophical value of justice or helping the least
  • Focusing on equality per se has not been a focus for that reason
  • We could treat this differently by seeing gender inequality as an intrinsic value, rather than just an instrumental value.
  • Within the broader framework, we could treat it as an intrinsic value
  • It’s been a major challenge to weigh different good outcomes that charities do
    • Some charities improve health, some improve well-being
    • We try to solve this by using moral weights, to compare the good achieved by different charitable outcomes
    • These are things that we don’t have the right answers, and our approach to answer these have evolved over time
    • We used to take the median of what staff believe, to IDInsight to hear from beneficiaries on what they value
    • We now have a part of our team assigned to these questions, to decide which outcomes would have intrinsic weight
  • On reproductive health specifically, we’ve looked into that, and we couldn’t find charities that are competitive with our top charities
    • That’s still in the scope of where we’ll look into
Comment by lucy.ea8 on Lant Pritchett's "smell test": is your impact evaluation asking questions that matter? · 2020-03-21T06:56:12.175Z · EA · GW

Interesting replacing "thing X" with "basic education" reads as follows

My four-fold “smell test” for what is important to development
I have a four-fold criteria for whether something is potentially an important determinant of development, or more narrowly, just economic growth, and I am happy if “basic education” that I am proposing is “good for development” can satisfy all four (and then can move on from these simple facts about potential importance to tease out complicated questions of proximal, distal, and reverse causality).
One, countries differ in their level of development by an order of magnitude. Countries that are developed should have more of basic education than countries that aren’t. If Denmark and Canada don’t have more of basic education than Mali or Nepal I am kind of suspicious.
Two, since now developed countries are almost an order of magnitude more developed than they were in 1870 I am happy if there is more of basic education in developed countries now than 140 years ago. If Germany and Japan don’t have more of basic education (or at least the same amount) than they did in 1870 I am kind of suspicious.
Three, since over the period since 1950 some countries have seen their development improve incredibly rapidly and others have seen almost no progress I am happy if basic education is more prevalent in rapid development successes than in development failures. If Korea and Taiwan don’t have more of basic education than Haiti and Nigeria then I am kind of suspicious.
Four, since countries change in their pace of development (and this is particularly true of economic growth, less so of human development indicators) dramatically over time, I am happy if there is more of basic education in a country in periods when development progress is rapid than in periods when development progress is slow. If China doesn’t have more of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth accelerated by 3.3 ppa) or if Cote d’Ivoire doesn’t have less of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth decelerated by 3.7 ppa) then I am kind of suspicious.

Basic education easily passes the first 3 tests. The final one also passes, with a time delay of 20 years (which is roughly the time it takes a kid to go through school and start working.)

human development indicators

good to see Lant Pritchett give a nod to human development indicators (and indirectly to the human development index)

accumulation of human capital, technological change, capability in the product space, or “institutions” (or, more deeply, what is cause and what is consequence amongst these elements themselves).

Good to see that room is left for human capital to be a cause and not merely a consequence, as most in EA seem to think

But nearly all contenders in debates about economic growth or development

Good to see subtle acknowledgement that "economic growth" and "development" can be different.

As a starting point EA should think from a human development standpoint, and not silently drop education from the definition of development.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on AMA: Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and CEO of GiveWell · 2020-03-18T04:20:40.304Z · EA · GW

Developing countries are very patriarchal, e.g. China, India have a distorted gender ratio at birth, women/girls lag in access to health care, education, power etc..

Given this, as far as I know GiveWell charities don't have a gender lens, neither do your reports talk much about gender.

Do you think a gender focus would be useful? If yes, why has this not been done.

If not, then why not?

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover · 2020-03-11T18:46:51.936Z · EA · GW

Thanks Aaron. I try not to assume anything, and usually ask for clarification. I should have done the same here.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on What are the key ongoing debates in EA? · 2020-03-08T18:36:07.893Z · EA · GW

My fundamental disagreement with the EA community in on the importance of basic education (high school equivalent in USA)

Comment by lucy.ea8 on [Link] Updated Drawdown now available, incl. 2020 Review · 2020-03-08T04:43:13.546Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the link.

Health and Education ... Three out of those five are already front and center in EAs' awareness anyway

According to drawdown Health and Education is mostly about basic education (high school equivalent in USA) and access to contraception. Contraception is a minor issue that EA correctly pays little attention.

Education on the other hand is given very little attention in EA, and is the critical factor in human well being. Sadly a big miss by EA.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-03-08T00:43:06.098Z · EA · GW
Health, nutrition and education improvements also have positive impact on GDP growth, not just the other way around

Precisely. This is the story of Kerala, China (pre-reform)

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover · 2020-03-03T20:54:37.946Z · EA · GW

First, thanks! I had no idea Afonso de Albuquerque's conquests had been so marvelous

I would not call any conquest marvelous

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover · 2020-03-03T20:53:31.745Z · EA · GW
combined with general chaos and disruption

That chaos and disruption is critical. Even before Cortes set foot, death from disease made native societies very weak and easy to conquer. 1493 deals with this aspect.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover · 2020-03-03T20:47:40.930Z · EA · GW

There have always been wars, victors, conquered in history, I consider Afonso as just one more example of the same.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Cortés, Pizarro, and Afonso as Precedents for Takeover · 2020-03-02T22:18:27.891Z · EA · GW

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Paperback – October 10, 2006
by Charles C. Mann

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created Paperback – July 24, 2012
by Charles C. Mann

I found those books useful and interesting on the question of conquest. Disease and death from disease I think is the reason for dismantling of local empires. The same did not happen in the rest of the world.

Alexander, Genghis Khan and others like that routinely rose and fell over millenia, those stories are spread in time. The Americas are a different story because of the disease vector.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-21T11:03:48.356Z · EA · GW

Thanks Linch, a better indicator than adult literacy is youth literacy.

In China 1950, for kids aged 15-19 21.86% of boys had no education, for girls 49.9% had no education.

By 1980 for kids 15-19 1.32% of boys and 3.88% of girls had no education. This is a dramatic improvement.

plus at least naively, we would expect the Cultural Revolution to have wiped out some of the progress

the cultural revolution only stalled increase in education beyond 9th grade, so it had very little effect on literacy rates

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-21T10:23:12.434Z · EA · GW

From "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy"

The third fatal problem with the “400 million births prevented” claim is that it totally ignores the most significant source of fertility decline worldwide: economic development. As the popular slogan has it, “economic development is the best contraceptive”. China’s dramatic post-1978 economic boom and the profound social changes unleashed by rising incomes and levels of education and rapid urbanization would have driven down birth rates even in the absence of state birth planning campaigns. Given the much more rapid pace of economic and social change in China than in any of the 16 comparison countries used in Figure 3, it is highly likely that the trajectory of birth rate decline in China after 1980 due to this source alone would have been steeper than the average for the 16 comparison countries, and therefore even closer to the observed birth rate changes, as shown in the bottom line in Figure 3. In sum, the claim that China’s one-child policy prevented 400 million births is entirely bogus.

There were two separate claims that I made

1) One child policy had no effect on China's total population

Yong Cai is the best researcher on this question. He clearly says one-child policy had little impact of China's total population. Amartya Sen discusses this issue, and comes to similar conclusion.

2) Regarding effects of education of fertility.

Yong Cai is not the expert I would consult.

Income, education, urbanization all correlate with declining fertility, and he points that out clearly.

It is well known in the human development community that in 1979 pre-reform China had much better health, education, fertility indicators than would be expected given its level of income. The question is why? The answers lie in their social policies at that time (under Mao), where an emphasis was given to basic education and basic healthcare (with barefoot doctors 1 2)

I like Amartya Sen's discussion on China best

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-21T09:35:01.138Z · EA · GW

hey brunoparga, it is not one interaction that I find problematic. i am happy to be voted down when people respond back. it is those downvotes without a response that troubles me.

i like to interact and try to see others point of view, so its totally ok if you d'ont agree with me, say so, and explain your reasons. we may not agree at the end, but atleast we can try to understand each other.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-17T13:00:00.681Z · EA · GW

Regarding voting. I have consistently been "controversial" when I have positive karma on a comment, I can see both +ve and -ve votes. While a few are not voted, and a lot of my comments get voted down.

You have 200 comments with 2000+ karma, I have 100 comments with 25 karma.

This is a pattern I see consistently.

I pointed out the context in which I made my comment.

China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.

From reading Yong Cai and Amartya Sen etc.. its clear that one child policy had no effect on China's population. First let's agree on those facts.

Regarding education and fertility. I gave you a third paper by Yong Cai in which he acknowledges that education plays a role. Yong Cai is a China specialist not an expert on fertility and demography. As a scholar he reflects the thinking of his peers, and is cautious.

Wolfgang Lutz and others from IIASA and Wittgenstein center for demography research link between fertility and education. They are very clear that there is a strong link.

Whereas before your stated that "widespread education" was the factor explaining China's reduced fertility, now you state that education was one factor among many.

I didn't restate my position. I only quoted Yong Cai, it does not mean I agree completely with him.

I said as much when I wrote

Yong Cai is a specialist demographer focused on China, and not on the link between education and fertility.

You have to appreciate that this takes a lot of time, and a mental toll. If I dont give all my sources, it is because I have pondered this question for years and have read quite a few papers and books. I am not an academic to keep track and source everything.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-16T19:22:27.407Z · EA · GW

Its interesting to note that I got downvoted for giving excellent sources. While you got upvoted for reading the articles and commenting. Basically I am outgroup/outcaste in EA.

Moving on.

I have read extensively on the topic of demographic change. Let me start with context it was asserted that

"China .... one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend."

I replied that one child policy had no effect on China's population. My sources were Yong Cai et all, Amartya Sen has extensively commented on demographics and in his books explicitly compares Kerala, Tamil Nadu, China etc... and does not find differences in demographic trajectories of those places.

One child policy had no effect on China's total population.

Regarding education and fertility, Yong Cai says socioeconomic development played a role in his paper "China’s Below-Replacement Fertility: Government Policy or Socioeconomic Development?"

Improvement in education, especially for women, has been shown in other settings to have an important depressing effect on fertility (Axinn and Barber 2001; Bongaarts 2003; Jeffery and Jeffery 1998).

He concludes

Below-replacement fertility in China, as in other societies, is driven to a great extent by the increasingly global forces of social and economic development.

Yong Cai is a specialist demographer focused on China, and not on the link between education and fertility. The best research on the link between education and fertility comes from Wolfgang Lutz and his coauthors. Amartya Sen is worth reading too.

Is the Demographic Dividend an Education Dividend?

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals · 2020-02-14T17:38:10.681Z · EA · GW


1 SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 4.1569

2 SDG 1: No Poverty 3.7812

3 SDG 5: Gender Equality 3.5569

4 SDG 16: Peace Justice & Strong Institutions 3.0923

5 SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy 2.2784

6 SDG 4: Quality Education 2.0549

7 SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation1.8721

8 SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth 1.7282

Given the order for goals and targets, it's clear that taxation has to play a role, otherwise how are inequalities going to be reduced?

From FAQ

asked them to identify the first 20 that should be tackled in a multi-year effort to fulfill all of the SDGs. We then asked them to put the 20 they selected into the proper sequence, such that doing each facilitated the tackling of subsequent options.

It's clear. They want to tackle extreme poverty and inequality. economic growth is far less important.

Also relevant. From research to action - the story of a book that changed the way we think about development

the capability approach broadens our lens just to make us see much more
of people's lives and how they interact with the economy rather than narrowly
focusing in this case on income the thinking about human development and the
work that Dreze and Sen had then done began to find a new form of expression
in the human development report I think was one articulation of that with the
largest development agency in the world at the time the human development
reports use the index as a tool to send it the main message which is let us think beyond income
Comment by lucy.ea8 on Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals · 2020-02-14T06:34:13.004Z · EA · GW

Hi Aaron,

"Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is ranked 2nd it is given high priority.

"Reduce all poverty by half" is ranked 16th at Medium priority

while "Boost per capita GDP" is ranked 40th at Low priority.

This implies that the "experts" think that "Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is a matter of distribution of money and power via state authority (taxation). Similarly "Reduce all poverty by half" is higher ranked than "per capita GDP growth" its about taxation and distribution again.

If a roughly a dollar a day is given to the 700 million people in extreme poverty, it cost $200 billion roughly. I don't see the political will for this. In contrast putting all kids in school for 12 years has a $39 billion shortfall, that is better use of money (more effective).

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-13T03:09:44.580Z · EA · GW

regarding one child policy of china

Feng, Wang; Yong, Cai; Gu, Baochang (2012). "Population, Policy, and Politics: How Will History Judge China's One-Child Policy?" (PDF). Population and Development Review. 38: 115–29. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2013.00555.x.
Whyte, Martin K.; Wang, Feng; Cai, Yong (2015). "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy" (PDF). The China Journal.

+ read demographic research from

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-12T17:33:57.732Z · EA · GW

I consider Hunger and Public Action as one of Sen's best books, it is available as open access online here

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-10T19:09:12.620Z · EA · GW
I think the outlier there is the US, not Chile.

The nation with highest life expectancy is Japan at 84 years, Chile, USA and every "developed" country is 75+ I would say all of them are on par

I'm just going by India's self-identification.

Not useful. North Korea is Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I guess republicans and democrats in USA should be thrilled. China is communist etc.. British were bringing civilization to the world etc...

Could I please have a source on China being that good

Ouch. My mistake. I should have written clearer. China outshined India in both education and healthcare. Given its history pre-independence it did very well in terms of health and education w.r.t. to "developed" countries. It did not cross rich nations, but did MUCH better than expected for a poor country. My observation was simply that "developed" countries had free public schooling (socialist schooling)

Does "better healthcare" include the several dozen million deaths in the Great Leap Ahead and other assorted atrocities?

Yes I am fully aware of China. I will simply quote Sen

Finally, it is important to note that despite the gigantic size of excess mortality in the Chinese famine, the extra mortality in India from regular deprivation in normal times vastly overshadows the former. Comparing India's death rate of 12 per thousand with China's of 7 per thousand, and applying that difference to the Indian population of 781 million in 1986, we get an estimate of excess normal mortality in India of 3.9 million per year. This implies that every eight years or so more people die in India because of its higher regular death rate than died in China in the gigantic famine of (p.215) 1958–61.37 India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame.

a really sad thought for 2 reasons. very few people know about the tragedy in India. Secondly the deaths are continuing today preventable deaths are around 4 million a year worldwide.

Was there such desire? If that is the case, why were the right policies not followed? It is not like late 1940s economists couldn't predict that Nehru's policies would have pretty terrible results.

Partly people really had no idea. They thought Import substitution industrialization was the answer. Secondly after capitalist Britain ruled (and ruined India) for 200 years would any country want to follow the system of Britain? Which economists should be followed? British ones? How about Dr. Ambedkar's policies? he is an economist.

China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.

One child policy had no effect on China's population size. It was their widespread education pre-1979 than reduced fertility.

That does not explain the riots here in Chile. In fact, it does sound like you think education is a panacea. What do you think of North Korean education? Cuban? Costa Rican?

The riots are a non-issue in the big scheme of things. Yes education is the fundamental factor for human well being. I have no idea about north korean education, cuban is very ideological I assume, no idea about Costa Rica, I assume it is similar to say Mexico.

Anyway it's not what is taught in school that is important. It is the quantum jump that comes with being able to read, write, reason, interpret, understand the world that is important. As compared to a totally illiterate person.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-10T18:18:46.587Z · EA · GW

Thanks Linch. You are right.

Amartya Sen compared China and India 30 years ago in his book Hunger and Public Action, it is worth reading today after all these years.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-08T09:46:27.073Z · EA · GW

Regarding Chile, Amartya Sen in his book Hunger and Public Action writes about it

life expectancy in Chile is on par with US, my interest about Chile would be more around how they have same life expectancy as US with less money.

India's pre-1990s policies were not pro-growth, they were explicitly socialist.

Sure you can call them socialist, although I don't like labels. Under Nehru basic education was neglected, as was basic healthcare. So does the label fit? I don't want to argue or think about labels, it is just a waste of time. I am for universal basic education, and universal basic healthcare both of which were done better by China than India, or any "developed" country for that matter with their universal free public schooling systems.

Among countries that you gave as examples (South Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore) had universal basic education provided by the government, I am not sure of Chile. Education is a necessary but not sufficient condition for economic growth.

Industrialization per se is not inherently a pro-growth policy;

My point about Nehru and industrialization was that there was a desire for economic growth, whether the right policies were followed is a different question.

It was Manmohan Singh who implemented India's first pro-growth policies, first as Finance Minister then as Prime Minister.

It is not just the policies of Singh that made the difference, India had a large number of educated people by the year 1990 (along with enormous illiteracy). India and China opened up 10 years from each other, but India is 20-30 years behind China. This distance is mirrored in the education levels of China vs India, with China being ahead of India pre-1980 by 20-30 years.

Regarding Brazil, it is less educated than Chile or US, and its life expectancy is roughly 4 years behind both countries. Even today 18% of brazil's kids have 6 years of schooling or less. In Chile that number is less than 2%

Basic Education makes a difference.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals · 2020-02-07T23:42:05.526Z · EA · GW

Most interesting, EA focus on "Boost per capita GDP" is ranked 40th as a Low priority


"Ensure all children graduate from primary and secondary schools" is ranked 7th as a High priority.

"End discrimination against women and girls" Which is related keeping all children in school is ranked 8th as a High priority.

I agree.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-02-05T02:04:47.873Z · EA · GW
Chile, for example, people have been fighting tooth and nail against the policies that made the country the wealthiest, most educated one in South America

Chile was ahead of much of South America in 1950, I wouldn’t give credit solely to the last 40 years of policies. Data for Education, Income, Life Expectancy only Cuba was ahead in terms of both Income and Education (by a little bit) every other country was behind including Brazil

where pro-growth policies have been enacted were often authoritarian at the time (South Korea, Taiwan, Chile), or still are (China, Singapore)

I would not put Singapore in the same bucket as China, overall agree that those countries were authoritarian, however plenty of other authoritarian countries did far worse. South Africa is one example. All of those countries in your list had universal basic education before economic growth, was that the driver in improvements in income?

India and Indonesia are not shining beacons of civil liberties. Poor democracies, as a rule, do not consistently choose growth

Indonesia had a much more authoritarian history than India. India's first Prime Minister prioritized industrialization calling dams and heavy industry as temples of modern india. Kerala a state in India (followed by Tamil Nadu later) prioritized basic education and healthcare which formed the Kerala Model and now ranks at the top of Indian state by HDI

how to make people want it.

They do want it, but first to evaluate "pro-growth" arguments they need basic education.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-03T09:26:45.329Z · EA · GW
I can't find evidence on changes in college education attainment. So it's not apparent that they are pushing forward along this transition.

I am not sure why college education is so important. Their education levels have been consistently increasing as I pointed to earlier. repeating education graphic AGAIN

Given their increases in education, it is a good assumption to make that their college level education is also increasing.

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

I presented actual data on total mexican immigrants, and undocumented mexican immigrants. Given this hard data on actual migration opinion polls have very little relevance

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.

Repeating AGAIN net immigration from Mexico in the last 10 years in negative. There is no increase in number of emigres. There has been a DECREASE.

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

Dont speculate. When fertility rate falls to replacement or close to it, when they are Upper Middle Income like Mexico is, the problem is not money, it is time spent with family.

Moreover, Mexico only constitutes ~half of illegal immigration

This is because population of undocumented mexican immigrants decreased from 6.9 to 4.9 million, while that of other countries stayed basically flat changing from 5.3 million to 5.5 million

"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.

AGAIN mexican immigrants in US is net negative over the last 10 years. We are talking about worldwide immigration to USA not just about southern border. When people arrive by air the policing on the border is not relevant. Latin amercian immigration was only about a third in the years 2010-2017, the rest was from all over the world and visa overstays are the issue there

Finally it is not just US policies that effect how many people come in, it is also fundamentally about the how well the sending countries are doing. In general life is much better in the sending countries and US will see a drop off in number of immigrants coming in.

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

I explicitly talked about non-mexican immigrants and assumed 3.2 million of them would make it into the USA in the next 10 years. Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador are are behind in terms of education and as it changes over the next decade the number of people emigrating will start to fall.

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.

Between 2010-17 1.6 immigrants from latin america (excluding mexico) came in, this is 250,000 a year or .1% of US population per year, which is reasonable control of border given the enormous size of US border, the vast income and social disparities between US and the southern countries.

Overall US total US immigrant population is increasing only by less than .33% a year, and U.S. Population Growth In 2019 Is Slowest In A Century

even so the right says US has open borders, which is laughable.

"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."

Like I said I look for universal definitions, if there was an open border, then there would be no work/tourist visas, you can just come and work or play or visit, path to citizenship would not matter (why bother?), nobody would need to make it to the border, they would just take a flight in.

No matter who becomes president or how congress/senate changes I expect immigrants in US to increase by less than 1 million a year which is .31% of population this is hardly a disaster or emergency, or open borders, or lack of control.

US has one of the slowest increases of population, and this 2020's is likely to be even slower.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-02T11:47:39.447Z · EA · GW
I'm not sure what the income-immigration connection really is.

Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition

The Hypothesis of the Mobility Transition by Wilbur Zelinsky (1971)

Emigration is related to income level of country. The highest levels of emigration are in middle income countries because they have ability (money) and desire to emigrate, for poor countries lack of awareness and lack of money are barriers, for richer countries they don't find uprooting themselves worth it. Mexico has passed the point of peak emigration.

According to...?

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

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

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. (And we know that the rate of emigration itself has fallen).

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.

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

Mexico was a much less educated country, and that is the different now from its past.

Education drives down fertility, increases health, income. Overall reduces desire to emigrate permanently.

"This is similar to immigration trajectories of Ireland, UK, Japan etc.. etc.."
Mexico will not be like these countries anytime soon.

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

It is converging in terms of fertility, life expectancy, and education

From Hans Rosling: ‘No such thing as Swedish values’

While values like equality, tolerance, and transparency may often be associated with Sweden’s reputation abroad, Rosling argues such values aren’t actually Swedish.
“There is no such thing as Swedish values. Those are modern values,”

Mexico like Sweden, UK, Japan etc is becoming a modern country, more correctly described as a country with educated population.

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

Wishlists and new years resolutions are not worth discussing seriously.

From Gallup a related article clearly states

Of the roughly 630 million of the world's adults who desire to move to other countries, less than one-tenth of them -- about 48 million adults -- tell Gallup they are planning to move in the next 12 months. Less than half of those who are planning to move -- about 19 million adults -- are taking necessary steps such as applying for visas or residency and purchasing tickets.

Since the article is 8 years old, one can look at and see how much of it comes true, in the last 8 years 1 million immigrants per year were added. Around 5% of those wishing to move to US actually moved.

Does not change the fact that the number of those who wish to emigrate (and who may attempt it illegally)

I already discussed why wishes are not that important. As far as action of trying to cross the border illegally. We have data on it. 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, the long term trend is clear Mexican emigration has peaked.

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

That maybe true. 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.

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 have no interest in the perceptions and discussions by people on the American right when they are clearing wrong in their perceptions. I just ignore them.

I look for universal definitions, open borders means that anyone can come and live in USA. This is clearly not true today and was not has not been true for 100+ years.

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.

I did not assume anything about your position on immigration. However I think you are wrong in assuming that FPGen webpage on immigration is in support or constitutes "open borders"

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-02-01T01:43:27.591Z · EA · GW
I don't find "open borders" to be a loaded term

I live in a very liberal part of USA. I searched for "Open Borders" in my local library and found 3 books.

First a children's book which can be ignored.

"Open Borders Inc.: Who's Funding America's Destruction? by Michelle Malkin published in September, 2019" "America First: Why Americans Must End Free Trade, Stop Outsourcing and Close Our Open Borders by Paul Streitz published in 2006"

The assumption in those two books being that US already has open borders, which is why I say it is a loaded word.

FPgen does not use the words "Open Borders", they don't even have a position paper just a list of things they want.

I use loaded words only when people describe themselves in that way. 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"

For FPGen it is your opinion that their policies constitute "open borders" as you wrote before "Decriminalization doesn't necessarily mean open borders, but in concert with the other proposals here, I think it effectively would."

I would like to see evidence that demand to immigrate to the US is falling,

I already gave you data about undocumented mexican immigrant numbers falling, total number of mexican immigrants has also fallen

I also gave you specific reasons of why this is happening repeating myself "Mexico is an upper middle income country with fertility rate is 2.2, in addition women aged 15-24 are finishing 11.3 years of schooling. Mexicans are relatively content to stay in Mexico. This is similar to immigration trajectories of Ireland, UK, Japan etc.. etc.."

it will continue to greatly exceed the capacity that is allocated through legal mechanisms.

I prefer to see numbers, not just words. Total number of undocumented immigrants went down in the last 10 years

So overall immigration is solidly under control in USA, whether it should be higher or lower is another debate, and 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.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-01-29T16:29:20.928Z · EA · GW
Best not to impute such meanings on the EA forum.

I regard "open borders" in the same category of as discussion about -isms, totally useless. In the US political context "open borders" is used to as a scare tactic. Which is why I regard the term as propaganda . (I am not imputing motive to you)

It is much better to talk specific numbers. US on average has been gaining 1 million residents a year for the last 20 years, and this is showing signs of slowing down. On the margin this can be changed with immigration policy. 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.

looking at the numbers does not do a great job of determining how natives will perceive and react to things

Perceptions are different from reality as you point out. Let's not reinforce the false perception by using loaded words.

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

By that definition I cannot think of countries that have open borders in recent history (say last 50 years). We should also look at it from the demand side, if any western country had open borders its population could double within a year, this is beyond the realm of possibility.

In recent times the highest immigration that was accepted was Germany in 2013-2018 time they accepted .7% of their population every year. In US it is .37% and that level has been declining. USA has solid control of immigration, to the point where expected wait times for getting a green card is in the order of decades for some countries. (Discrimination by country of origin is built into US law and has always been)

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Responding to the Progressive Platform of “Foreign Policy Generation” · 2020-01-26T21:03:17.676Z · EA · GW
"Decriminalize attempts to cross the US border, and end migrant detention."
This has obvious benefits of increasing immigration and reducing the problems associated with border enforcement.

I expect illegal entry to still be a civil offense, instead of a criminal offense. I expect them to be deported back to their country of origin. This is much more humane, and better use of US effort (money).

Immigration will not increase all that much with this policy. Why? Mexico is an upper middle income country with fertility rate is 2.2, in addition women aged 15-24 are finishing 11.3 years of schooling. Mexicans are relatively content to stay in Mexico. This is similar to immigration trajectories of Ireland, UK, Japan etc.. etc..

Undocumented immigrants from Mexico dropped from a peak of 6.9 million to 4.9 million. I expect the numbers to fall (or stay flat)

What about El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala? Overall undocumented immigrants have fallen from 2010-2017. Even taking out mexico the increase is only 250 thousand, roughly 40,000 per year or 0.01% of US population per year. Source here

The education indices are increasing with its follow on effects of fall in fertility. Total population of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador is 32.6 at the max we can expect 10% of their population to come to USA (mexico peaked at less than 6.3%). So we can expect 3.3 million over a ten year period in the worst case. This adds .1% to USA population each year in the worst case.

Education visualization here

open borders could pose similar problems for the robustness of American political liberalism

A definition of open borders is needed. I see it is a propaganda term without any meaning, used to make people afraid of "them".

US admits 0.37% of its population as permanent residents each year. At what point would you say it has open borders if it admits 1%, 2%...10% each year?

American inability to control the border.
inept border control

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.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-23T15:36:51.930Z · EA · GW

oh good. now we are thinking about individual countries their histories and lessons that they can offer. Amartya Sen/Jean Dreze introduced me to this way of thinking in their book Hunger and Public Action, their latest "An Uncertain Glory: India and its contradictions" is good too.

Glad you brought up HDI which consists of three parts Education, Life Expectancy and Income.

In South Africa Education as you noted is up, Income is basically flat, Life Expectancy on the other hand in back to 1993 levels after crashing hard due to he AIDS crisis. South Africa given the history of apartheid should be analyzed as two populations 1) White 2) Blacks + others. Unfortunately I don't have the disaggregated data for those groups.

OTOH, there are countries with very little increase in time spent in school which have seen huge increases in HDI.

Care to share the list? Oil (or resource) wealth is one way HDI increases without any real change in people's lives. I discount that kind of HDI improvements.

Relevant latest data on HDI

But my point was that your blanket statement about there being no countries which implemented widespread K-12 education and didn't have huge welfare gains

I wrote that to be slightly provocative, can we find one country that is an exception it's possible (I have been looking and haven’t found one). The fundamental point being that when we look at countries and their history we find that education levels explain life expectancy. This can be seen from China (pre-reform 1979), Taiwan, South Korea, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Kerala, Mauritius, Cuba etc..

Easterlin Paradox can be explained by Education levels

Education and Happiness: a Further Explanation to the Easterlin Paradox?

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-23T05:55:35.737Z · EA · GW

Like I mentioned earlier, I have very little interest in economic growth. Education is a necessary but not sufficient condition, I said as much when I wrote " Education drives Health, and in case of market economies it drives wealth also." implying that other policies have an effect on wealth. Cuba is a good example, it is almost on par with USA in terms of life expectancy, babies per woman, but not money. This is because of their education levels.

Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova are ex USSR countries, the transition from communism had been catastrophic in 1990's. Even so their human development indicators are decent with life expectancy at 70+ years. Micronesia is behind at 65 years life expectancy.

Babies per women are around 3 for micronesia and Kyrgyz Republic, with moldova less than 2. Those countries are doing ok, even as I wish things were better for all of them.

I already listed the best papers I have read above in addition you can read Amartya Sen's books.

Hunger and Public Action published in 1991 is still worth reading, his comparison of India, China, Kerala is illuminating.

Wolfgang Lutz and his coauthors papers are good too

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-23T04:59:38.744Z · EA · GW

Hello Henry_Stanley,

Any one downvote without comment is understandable. I persistently get downvoted. At that point most people leave the community. Are those the norms that we want to create?

I never downvote people I disagree with, I ask them why and try to learn from them (or teach them).

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T07:38:15.826Z · EA · GW

I have very little interest in economic growth. I value basic education, followed by health.

The best papers on the subject are Education and Health: Redrawing the Preston Curve Wolfgang Lutz Endale Kebede

Global Sustainable Development priorities 500 y after Luther: Sola schola et sanitate Wolfgang Lutz

You can find detailed education dataset at

Gapminder which i linked to earlier has a lot of data loaded into it.

The idea that education is important is not new. Since the early 1990's UNDP has published Human Development Index, consisting of Education, Health and Income. Why the EA community discarded education is beyond my understanding.

The HDI of 1990's is itself based on the older Kerala Model

Kerala had good social indicators by 1970 just 2 decades after independence and has been ahead of China until very recently in those indices. Amartya Sen discusses Kerala, China, Tamil Nadu in his books.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:59:39.510Z · EA · GW

perhaps countries which didn't produce huge welfare gains also implemented widespread K-12 education

That list of countries is zero.

On the contrary, countries with widespread education always had huge welfare gains. They did well in terms of life expectancy, under 5 mortality rate, babies per woman (a reasonable indicator for modernity, and women's empowerment).

If they were market economies like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong they also had gains in income. China saw major improvements in education and social indicators pre-1979 reforms, it saw improvements in income after opening up, and social indicators have since improved (after a stall in 1980's). (Not forgetting or dismissing the great Chinese famine)

visualization here

Cuba on the other hand has high life expectancy but very little money. It's educational levels for women aged 15-24 are close to USA (not talking about quality) 13.3 vs 13.9

visualization here

No surprise that the life expectancy of Cuba and USA are also close

visualization here

In summary Education drives Health, and in case of market economies it drives wealth also.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:56:51.774Z · EA · GW

ok cool. we are in agreement that communist countries had serious problems. even so China pre-reform (1979) had good social indicators that should not be dismissed as if they dont exist.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:29:51.784Z · EA · GW

I re-read that post kbog, I am not advocating any -isms here. However I do see a bias for capitalism/free markets on the forum and ask for clarification.

I asked an unanswered question on that post some time ago

In general I dislike arguing about -isms. I think policy. For me Universal Basic Education, Universal Basic Healthcare, Universal Basic Income are policies that I strongly support.

The order is also important first Basic Education, then Basic Healthcare, then Basic Income that is how an ideal government would prioritize.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-19T02:12:00.824Z · EA · GW

I am not disagreeing, I am asking for clarification for the following sentence

"best reply to the left/socialists is probably that their empirical track record is much worse""

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-18T03:19:42.202Z · EA · GW

From the dawn of agriculture until the industrial revolution, we were ruled by kings, dynasties came and went, but the basic structure of kings remains.

What we have today is a continuation of that old system, in a new garb.

Is decolonization an overthrow of capitalism? Yes the russian revolutions was overthrown, but the authoritarian Chinese government is still in place, as are plenty of dictatorships e.g. Saudi Arabia, Cuba.

In any case I have no interest in revolution, overthrowing systems, or even thinking about them.

My original question was asking about comparison between "capitalist" and "socialist" systems. Since it was asserted that "left/socialists is probably that their empirical track record is much worse".

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T22:58:46.098Z · EA · GW

I have never had positive karma on this forum. Don't be abusive EA forum.

If you think I am wrong vote me down no problem. However take the time to explain why.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T22:47:43.130Z · EA · GW

he is referring specifically to the empirical track-record of attempts to overthrow capitalism, which is indisputably abysmal.

The sentence ended with "(although there are successes and failures from both approaches)" which changes the meaning to me. Will wait for the author to clarify.

This is the reason I don't like labels of left/right/socialist/communist/capitalist/fascist etc.. It is much better to discuss policy.

The track record of attempts to overthrow any system of power are abysmal, I don't see much point in thinking or discussing overthrowing anything.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T17:18:28.519Z · EA · GW

The best reply to the left/socialists is probably that their empirical track record is much worse

Care to explain?

As an american i think "socialist" healthcare is UK or Europe/Canada as better. Basic education until 12 grade (hight school) in USA is free another "socialist" policy

Why are those "left/socialist" policies bad, and what is the track record that you are referring to.

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T17:11:27.381Z · EA · GW

When looking at the huge human welfare gains in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong in the second half of the 20th century, no-one argues that this was because they engaged in more interventions of this type.

Every single one of them via government policy ensured that their kids had basic education (upto 12 years of schooling). This was prior to their economic growth. How do we know that human well being today is not caused by investments in education?

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T17:08:14.875Z · EA · GW

This could go the other way also. Education can cause reduced disease risk burden, education allows people to participate in industrial economy, and therefore increases money.

How do we know that when countries transform from illiterate to educated. It is an effect of money, and not government policy?

How exactly does the transformation happen? Suppose there were no public schools in the USA or UK would the population be able to buy education? Would the country be more or less educated?

Comment by lucy.ea8 on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-17T09:12:04.590Z · EA · GW

I agree EA community relies on RCT's too much.

However Education not economic growth is key for human well being. I have written on this subject multiple times on the forum.

A partial response is at

Posting it as a doc with everyone having comment access