On EA messaging - being a doctor in a poorer country 2022-11-20T10:16:52.074Z
Update on pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement 2022-10-08T11:17:47.661Z
Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement 2022-07-11T17:16:22.779Z
For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical? 2022-01-30T07:16:51.963Z
The most important century and the representativeness of EA 2021-09-28T05:06:35.289Z


Comment by Luke Eure on Melissa Merritt's Shortform · 2023-03-25T10:21:25.549Z · EA · GW

Unfortunately I don't know anything at all about this literature, but I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't many studies. There are certaintly non-altruistic reasons for existing governments to favor schooling as we have it - teaching rule-following, instilling patriotism, ability to mold young minds in a particular kind of way.

My guess would be that there are huge improvements to be had in the ways that most countries do education, and that more experiments would be helpful. More radical education attempts seem valuable.

Comment by Luke Eure on Melissa Merritt's Shortform · 2023-03-14T14:22:20.219Z · EA · GW

A few thoughts:

  1. It seems like these things that schools do in terms of restricting speech, movement, and association, parents also do for their kids. Do you think parenting also violates these rights?
  2. "opportunities for play and exploration that are not compulsary" are certainly granted to children in the US where school does not take up all of a child's time and they can go play, read books, do whatever they want outside of school  (as long as their parents allow)

Also note that in the US, a child does not have to "go to school" as much as they have to "receive an education". A kid can be homeschooled, though that homeschooling has to meet certain requirements and the kid has to pass standardized tests.

For ameliorating the issue, I'm all for better schooling that gives more opportunity for exploration, and respects children's autonomy. But I do think in my ideal society, education of some sort would still be basically compulsory.

Comment by Luke Eure on Speculation on Current Opportunities for Unusually High Impact in Global Health · 2023-01-15T15:27:58.005Z · EA · GW

Follow up on this - I downgraded my prioritization of this as an intervention after talking to a friend in Nairobi who told me that overperscription of anti-biotics is a huge issue in Nairobi. In lots of neighbourhoods, the informal medical clinic will just prescribe you strong antibiotics for relatively mild symptoms. 

This made me 

1. doubt that people will use randomly distributed antibiotics correctly - so less upside

2. give more credence to the idea that passing them out randomly could increase antibody resistance - potential downside

Comment by Luke Eure on On EA messaging - being a doctor in a poorer country · 2022-12-03T06:47:56.950Z · EA · GW

Brian drain is an interesting topic. The brief research and thinking I've done on brain drain leaves me without clear answers as to what an individual facing a decision to emigrate should actually do.

Even if it is in aggregate bad that so many people move from poorer to richer countries (which is not obvious to me), it could still be the rational thing to do on an individual basis.

I would love to see a sort of guide based on EA-principles written for people in low-middle income countries considering moving to higher-income countries.

  • what are the benefits you might provide to the world working in a (potentially higher-leverage) higher-income country?
  • what about if you stayed in your home country?
  • for which careers is emigrating likely to make more sense vs. staying, and vice versa?
  • If earning to give if a key motivator in emigrating, how much would you have to believe you can earn in order to offset any downsides 
  • what about moving to a high-income country for a few years, gaining experience, then moving back and?


Side note: the methods used in the second paper you shared don't make sense to me. They say that "for every doctor that emigrated, a country lost about: (i) US$ 517,931", but they arrive at this 517k figure by saying that education costs ~$65k, and then applying compound interest over 32 years. Seems to me it would be more accurate to say that the country lost $65k, plus the medical services that person would have provided.

Comment by Luke Eure on On EA messaging - being a doctor in a poorer country · 2022-12-03T06:11:48.106Z · EA · GW

Hi Gregory, thank you so much for this thoughtful reply!

This is exactly the kind of discussion and analysis I was hoping to encourage with this post.

  • Your upshot totally makes sense to me: E2G is probably a bad idea in lower-income countries. 
  • I also buy that being a practicing doctor likely is not the most impactful thing most people in lower-income countries can do either
  • So what is? A lot of the career considerations probably are still directionally right: government policy, org building at effective nonprofits, research into global priorities, etc.
  • But getting better answers on these questions is work to be done by EA groups worldwide (much of it on a country-by-country basis as you say - thanks for pushing me on this)

And for what it's worth, I think the advice you gave in 2015 totally makes sense given the likely audience then. It's exciting that the audience has changed now and  will continue changing.

Comment by Luke Eure on Speculation on Current Opportunities for Unusually High Impact in Global Health · 2022-11-13T12:55:58.722Z · EA · GW

This is a super interesting idea! I like this push for more object-level thinking. I live in Kenya - may be worthwhile to do in the poorer regions here. Heading home for Christmas and maybe I will bring back a suitcase full, then travel around the northern deserts handing them out.


Making this really practical, here are the things I'm thinking through on actually doing this:

  • Deciding whether or not to do this:
    • Is any other organization already doing this in the region I would be going to?
    • What is the most likely cause of death in the specific area I would go to? Is it easily treatable?
    • Do more research into these 1/100 - 1/1000 life-saving impact estimates - is this realistic?
  • If I decide to do it:
    • Where do I buy antibiotics in the US? What kind do I buy?
    • will I get in trouble at customs bringing these in?
    • how will I explain to people how to use these antibiotics (especially in regions where I don't speak the language, which may be the areas of highest need?

I'll report back if I go through with this!


A few other thoughts:

Strongly agree with your thoughts on safety.

"Just directly physically doing things seems to be high-impact in general" - interesting. Of the four top charities, seems like only Malaria Consortium physically does stuff. The other three seem to fund and support existing organizations who are doing highly effective physical things (1).

In that spirit: I can potentially fund a person or two to go around handing out antibiotics! Let me know if you are reading this and are thinking of doing it but worried about funding.

"I’d guess that each course saves more like 1/100 life rather than 1/1000". Where does this come from? I have no intuition around how likely antibiotics are to help people, so would like to understand better!


1. descriptions of four charities from a 5-minute readthrough of their summaires on GiveWell

  • Malaria Consortium: Seems to actually on the ground distribute medicine
  • AMF: Does not actually distribute bednets - funds already existing distributors
  • Helen Keller: "provides technical assistance, engages in advocacy, and contributes funding to government-run vitamin A supplementation programs" - 
  • New Incentives: Provides funding to people to incentivize them to receive vaccines from already government-provided clinics
Comment by Luke Eure on Growing the US tofu market - a roadmap · 2022-11-06T16:18:09.235Z · EA · GW

I'm super excited about this! Seems like there's a lot of potential. Just a few half-thought observations and data points below in case helpful.

A potential  worry about the restaurant-first approach - anecdotally it seems like hip restaurants in places like NYC/Boston/Philly may already doing quite a bit with tofu in different varieties. The mechanism by which food goes from "being used in chic restaurants" to "drastically changing the volume of tofu eaten" probably needs some proving.

 For example the first (non-random) restaurants I looked up has Mustard Seed Crusted Tofu with spaghetti squash. The second just has glass noodles with roasted tofu, which maybe supports your point that it's limited varieties of tofu being used.

It may be unrealistic to expect a modern American restaurant to devote more than a couple dishes to "non-Chinese" dishes. (maybe this is averted if the main channel is things like lasagnas and grilled "cheeses" like you're trying).


Potential inspiration: Mtofu is a newish company in Kenya that is markets flavored tofus, eg chorizo substitutes:

Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-10-08T11:20:12.445Z · EA · GW

Hi Kirsten, I wrote up an update here:

Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-10-08T11:19:05.736Z · EA · GW

Hi Guy, I wrote up an update here:

I'm happy to give more detail if it's helpful! I don't really think anything I did was particularly impactful due to not understanding the system well enough, and due to "advocacy from Americans" being less of a limiting factor than "political capital within the embassy"

Comment by Luke Eure on Protest movements: How effective are they? · 2022-08-23T14:48:38.184Z · EA · GW

Thank you! Agreed that EA as a community often overlooks the value of protests and social change. Excited to look more deeply into the report

On “backfire” - do you have any view on backfire of BLM protests? I’ve been concerned with the pattern of protest -> police stop enforcing in a neighborhood -> murder rates go up. Seems like if this does happen, it really raises the bar as the long run positive effects protests like this need to achieve in order to offset the medium term murder increase.

But maybe I’m thinking of this wrong. Or maybe this wouldn’t be considered backfire - more of an unintended side effect?


Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-07-13T15:56:04.462Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much! Let me write to Kneedler. May do a FOIA request later too

Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-07-13T15:55:08.834Z · EA · GW

Absolutely, it's a lose-lose, unforced error.


For channels see my comment to Guy Raveh with what I've done so far!

Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-07-13T15:54:41.585Z · EA · GW

Thanks! See my comment to Guy Raveh with what I've done so far!

Comment by Luke Eure on Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement · 2022-07-13T15:53:51.741Z · EA · GW

Agreed - would love more work visas! Way more impactful. Would love lots more people to work on that as well.

So far what I have done:

  • 3 months ago, talked to a couple friends at the embassy (peers, not super high up)  to understand what the root issue is. They basically said it is a staffing issue, and my sense is that it isn't a high priority. When other mutual friends have asked how to get a visa. In at least one case, when another mutual friend asked, an embassy friend gave tips on how to do the expedited process. You wouldn't get these tips if you don't have a friend at the embassy
    • haven't involved them much since as they don't have power over this, and I don't want to make it personal
  • over the past few months, corresponded with the consular section of the US embassy in Nairobi expressing my frustration and asking who I could talk to to understand the issue. got pat responses - eventually they said "To keep both applicants and our staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of appointments for all of these categories is much lower than normal." which is infuriating BS
  • A few months ago I contacted both my Senators (Iowa) through their online contact forms, asking if they could direct me to anyone. No response
  • This week I wrote a blog post (I have extremely limited reach, post has gotten 33 views) explaining the situation
  • Tweeted this blog post at the US embassy, no response
  • Contacted a journalist friend to see if this was a newsworthy thing that any outlet might pick up. She said potentially, but didn't know anyone specifically who would write on it.
  • I submitted tips online to Kenyan newspapers The Standard and The Daily Nation, African news source The Continent, and the NYT, WSJ, Foreign Affairs. Don't expect anything to come of these
  • This week I emailed Dana L Banks (NSC Senior Director for Africa - got her contact through a of mine friend in Kenya in Democrats Abroad), on the issue. She actually responded! She volunteered that this is an Africa-wide issue (already seemed that way to me but nice I guess to hear they're thinking of it that way). She  Forwarded it to Maureen Farrell (Director for Horn of Africa - NSC)
    • I have found it very hard to find organizational information about the NSC online - don't really know how important these people are)
  • While writing this comment I got a response from Maureen Farrell! They "share my concerns" and gave me the contact of someone at the US State Dept Kenya Desk. I'll email her and follow up.

Next steps

  • write to Mr. Eric W. Kneedler as Weaver suggested below
  • follow up with new contact at Kenya Desk in state dept
  • maybe submit a op-ed proposal to Africa Quartz if I want to write an op-ed myself
  • maybe find some more people to tweet at either in state department or people who work in immigration policy and might have leverage to do something on this

Would love any feedback / further advice on this!

Comment by Luke Eure on Snowball Fund - A Low-Cost, Low-Risk, and High-Upside Experiment · 2022-04-02T15:15:36.379Z · EA · GW

Love this idea! Excited to see this go into action. If the fund gets high returns I think it would be great to have a large pool of funds under control of a broader base of EAs (assuming a lot of EAs contribute to the fund). And I think the brand building getting EA in direct contact with early stage entrepreneurs (and in front of the eyeballs of everyone reading eg TechCrunch and seeing EA Snowball fund listed as a funder) could be powerful.

Biggest concern in my mind is that this becomes a low tier VC - establishing it as a “premium” brand that founders want to have as a funder would be critical I think, so that the EA founders don’t just say “we’ll I’d rather just get an extra 100k from my existing funders and not have to deal with this Snowball fund”

Comment by Luke Eure on For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical? · 2022-02-02T12:39:41.100Z · EA · GW

Ah the elasticities is a good point! And the suffering of the smaller fish is also important. 


Elasticities is super interesting because something else I was considering was "would I be willing to work for a company like this". The elasticity is relevant in a pretty different way when I'm asking "should I eat this fish" vs. "should I work to expand the reach of this company that I think on balance treats fish well." There could be a scenario where I'm willing to work for the company but still not eat fish (that world is not this world though - I'm not convinced they treat fish that well)

Comment by Luke Eure on For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical? · 2022-01-31T04:15:31.246Z · EA · GW

Yeah this uncertainty with regards to fish experience makes this really hard. I suppose this raises the bar in terms of what I would need to eat fish. We need to understand fish welfare better (for a given species) before we can confidently mitigate harm, likely erring on the side of not promoting fish farming until we’re confident we understand fish welfare for the given species of fish.

Comment by Luke Eure on For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical? · 2022-01-30T16:18:43.832Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing! I haven't heard many (any?) people express this view so good to hear!

Comment by Luke Eure on For vegetarians: Is there plausibly a kind of fish farm that would make eating fish ethical? · 2022-01-30T16:17:44.812Z · EA · GW

Nope, nothing unique to fish! I think it's also useful to think about this for other decisions, such as not eating beef, or not buying clothes made with child labor. I'm just most interested in fish specifically, because I've had a hard time finding as much discussion on fish farming vs other types of meat

Thanks for the SSC post - I'll check it out!

Comment by Luke Eure on College Public Service Pipeline · 2022-01-15T21:34:26.721Z · EA · GW

Very clear, thank you! Out of curiosity, what type of achievable and potentially-leading-to-high-impact roles are you going to try to push people towards? If you have stuff online somewhere I can look at that so you don't have to type out an answer.


Best of luck with this!

Comment by Luke Eure on Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today · 2022-01-14T20:44:43.949Z · EA · GW

 Very late response, thank you for catching this!

As GiveWell says in their post, "Because money is fungible, many gifts will effectively take the place of money that Open Philanthropy would have granted this year." If the result of me giving $1 is that the same amount of money goes to a top charity, and Open Phil gets to keep $1 extra, then Givewell hasn't disbursed the marginal dollar I've donated - they've rolled it over.

Disclosure I still did donate the same amount to GiveWell last year as I otherwise would have - this did just make me consider other options more than I had in previous year.

Comment by Luke Eure on College Public Service Pipeline · 2022-01-14T19:36:24.582Z · EA · GW

This sounds great! I don't have any solutions, but a related issue I wonder about (as someone who went into consulting after undergrad): Does public service have the same or similar learning opportunities and exit opportunities as finance consulting? Being EA-minded in college, I did not perceive public service as having either of these strongly. So this is either a strike against people in public service, or a matter of bad marketing

Comment by Luke Eure on Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today · 2021-11-25T04:19:23.466Z · EA · GW

"I assume that the crux here is that GiveDirectly believes that spending more money now would have a good publicity effect, that would promote philanthropy and raise the total amount of donations overall.
I would change my mind if this was the case, but I don't see this as obvious."


I'm not entirely sure what the answer is here either, but one thought I had today was "I should make a Facebook post for Thanksgiving/Christmas telling my friends why I think it's so important to donate to GiveWell - your marginal donation can save a life for $3-5k! Ah, but actually GiveWell won't disburse the marginal dollar I donate this year, so I can't really make that argument this year."


I do think from an optics perspective, when the draw from GiveWell is that your marginal dollar will actually help save someone's life, it's discouraging to see "you're marginal dollar will help save someone's life - in 3 years when we no longer need to roll over funds". It pushes me in the direction of "well I'll donate somewhere else this year and then donate to GiveWell in 3 years". And I know that's not the right calculation from a utility perspective - I should donate to the most cost-effective charity with little-to-no time discounting. But most people outside EA who might be attracted to effective giving have a yearly giving budget that they want to see deployed effectively in the near-term.

Comment by Luke Eure on Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today · 2021-11-25T04:12:50.635Z · EA · GW

I'm not GiveDirectly, but in my view. It does make sense for GiveWell to deprioritise doing a more in-depth evaluation of GiveDirectly given resource constraints. However, when GiveWell repeatedly says in current research that certain interventions are or "5-8x cash", I think it would be helpful for them to make it more clear that it might be only "2-4x cash" - they just haven't had the time to re-evaluate the cash

Comment by Luke Eure on A Red-Team Against the Impact of Small Donations · 2021-11-25T04:04:17.814Z · EA · GW

That’s helpful thank you! I think the mode is more “I’m going to give OpenPhil more money”. It only becomes “I’m going to give Dustin more money” if it’s true that Dustin adjusts his donations to OpenPhil every year based on how much OpenPhil disburses, such that funging OpenPhil = funging Dustin

But in any case I’d say most EAs are probably optimistic that these organizations and individuals will continue to be altruistic and will continue to have values we agree with.

And in any any case, I strongly agree that we should be more entrepreneurial

Comment by Luke Eure on A Red-Team Against the Impact of Small Donations · 2021-11-24T17:19:09.119Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the great post (and for your great writing in general)! It mostly makes a ton of sense to me, though I am a bit confused on this point:

"If Benjamin's view is that EA foundations are research bottlenecked rather than funding bottlenecked, small donations don't "free up" more funding in an impact-relevant way."

EA foundations might be research bottlenecked now, but funding bottlenecked in the future. So if I donate $1 that displaces a donation that OpenPhil would have made, then OpenPhil has $1 more to donate to an effective cause in the future when we are not funding constrainedthe future.

So essentially, a $1 donation by me now is an exercise in patient philanthropy, with OpenPhil acting as the intermediary. 

 Does this fit within your framework, or is there something I'm missing? 

I don't think this "changes the answer" as far as your recommendation goes - we should fund more individuals, selves, and weirdos.

Comment by Luke Eure on Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more) · 2021-11-03T04:12:37.736Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much for sharing! From the dashboard it looks like they've upped the matching fund to $350K (adding $100K from the original $250K). 

Comment by Luke Eure on The most important century and the representativeness of EA · 2021-09-30T10:04:59.146Z · EA · GW

No problem, thanks for doing the Q&A and for the suggestions!  Happy if you want to share it with the Hispanic EA community

Comment by Luke Eure on The most important century and the representativeness of EA · 2021-09-30T04:30:08.655Z · EA · GW

Thank you so much for sharing! Agreed that it's important regardless of if the century is the most important. If you're interested, see my response to Linch above on this.

I watched the Q&A and wrote up notes to it as I was watching - thought I would make them sharable in case anyone else involved in community organising wants to see the main points but doesn't have time to watch! Notes here.

Comment by Luke Eure on The most important century and the representativeness of EA · 2021-09-30T03:25:09.667Z · EA · GW

Ah yes that sounds super relevant!

Unfortunately the paper is behind a paywall and I'm not a student. And while it might be fine from an individual morality basis to pay for philosophy papers I object to the academic journal system that requires it, so I can't in good conscience shell out $45 to read it ;)

Thanks for sharing though!

[And thanks for the handy stats]

Comment by Luke Eure on The most important century and the representativeness of EA · 2021-09-30T03:07:27.660Z · EA · GW

Ah good distinction! Agree I was not clear on that in my post (and to be honest, my thinking on it wasn't very clear either before you pointed out this distinction).

In part I am arguing for proposition 2. If it is the most important century, all long-term causes become more important relative to near-term causes. So at the very least, if it is the most important century, raising the representativeness of EA increases in importance relative to e.g., distributing bednets (1).

But what I'm really arguing for,  is that representativeness is more important for long-termism than most people in EA seem to think it is. And if you were underrating the importance of raising EA's representativeness (as I think the EA community does), additional action is demanded. I look through the lens of "if this is the most important century, representativeness is urgent" to illustrate the point. 

I could as have well, and maybe more accurately, called this article "An long-termist argument for the importance of EA's representativeness based on values-lock-in"



I think it's a thornier question when it comes to whether or not raising the representativeness of EA becomes more important relative to other long-term cause areas. The answer here would depend on the timeline of different long-termist issues, and the degree of lock-in each of them have.

  • Lock-in: If lock-in is stronger in decisions driven by value judgments than in decisions driven by scientific understanding, then representativeness increases in importance relative to recruiting scientific talent. Or the converse
  • Timelines: Imagine that in an  "EA business as usual" approach (e.g., not the most important century) it takes 30 years to attract the best scientific talent and 300 years to make EA representative. But in a "most important century approach" it takes 10 years to attract the best talent, and 10 years to make EA representative. Then "making EA representative" has likely increased in importance relative to "attracting the best scientific talent" as a result of it being the most important century. (My sense is that something like this is the case)

I don't have a strong view on this, and it could make for some interesting analysis!