Just looked this up- very interesting. I agree that’s along the lines of what I was thinking , with the added attempt to vaguely begin to quantify . And yeah mutual aid efforts could be another type of action to include in a map/model like this.
Re how much exists - I hope it’s a lot. But I fear there may be not that much based on personal experience. Also sometimes in activist & social justice circles there can be a resistance to quantifying a bottom line.
Should ally be the one to write this given the many potential blind spots
Is it correct for an investigation of this type to be allied-centered (from the perspective of those in identity locations of societal privilege)
Problem of disempowering societally marginalized & of painting a one-directional picture
Reinventing the wheel / being dismissive of well established experts, particularly those who are members of societally marginalized groups)
Other blind spots related to social justice nuance
Create new allies that would not otherwise be motivated (without this style of analysis)
Motivate existing allies to take more action (by demonstrating incremental return on investment)
Everyone should just automatically do this (to the degree that they occupy privileged identity locations) as part of basic civics in US society & probably in global society as well
These practices may relate to other cause areas like longtermism (i.e. by avoiding lock-in of bad values), animal welfare & global health/development (i.e. by expanding circle of compassion starting with local people)
The positive impact of each new ally is complete marginal gain/100% counterfactual since each new ally will encounter a unique set of people & situations in their lives.
In other words, the counter argument that social justice advocacy is a crowded cause area does not necessarily hold here.
The need for domain-specific expertise is low since all of us are experts on our personal experience, which is in turn suffused with systemic privilege & injustice.
Social injustice in the US is the cause of a lot of suffering [PLUG IN METRICS HERE]
Really appreciate that notion. It is something I've thought a lot about myself. I also tend to find that my personal spiritual practice benefits from a mix of many short meditation retreats, daily formal meditation sessions & ongoing altruistic efforts in daily life. I don't feel that I would make a good teacher of meditation if I did that full time or that my practice would reach greater depth faster if I quit my job & practiced full time.
Interesting essay, thanks for sharing. Buddhist practice is the central focus of my life & is how I became interested in EA. I see the two as fairly compatible. I'm assuming the essay's focus is on Buddhists that have a primarily physicalist ontology (that subjective experience is an epiphenomena of brain chemistry). If that is the case, then I think engaged Buddhism, when taken to the highest degree of intensity, converges fairly well with EA.
Things become arguably more interesting if we adopt the traditional Buddhist ontology which includes multiple realms of existence, karma & rebirth. For instance, the population ethics does change in this case. In the traditional Buddhist worldview, there are a finite set of sentient beings being reborn in the universe. The total population of sentient beings can decrease (because sentient beings reach liberation & stop being reborn) but not increase (since Buddhist logic negates a first cause).
The main thrust of population ethics in this case is to increase the proportion of sentient beings reborn into "fortunate human births" (a traditional Buddhist phrase) which thus allows them the greatest opportunity to generate positive momentum (i.e. by being effective altruists) to eventually reach liberation. Ordinary sentient beings are not really able to effect this; at most they can encourage other humans to maximize their altruistic efforts & thus build that positive momentum. To me, this is how traditional Buddhadharma could align with EA.
Where they don't align is around doing more than just practicing altruism. The traditional Buddhist worldview suggests that some of the most possible good someone can do is to strive to become a Buddha through training in meditative concentration & insight into the nature of reality. Through this training, it is possible to progress through degrees of liberation which put one in a position to do the most possible good for others from a multi-lifetime perspective. This would include occupying altruistic worldly functions such as those encouraged by EA, but also encouraging others to spend a large portion of their lives meditating. In other words, spending a large portion of life meditating is highly recommended by traditional Buddhism but only makes sense from a utilitarian perspective if one takes a multi-lifetime view.
Has anyone looked into the possibility of doing survey studies on the perception of EA ideas? I'm thinking of surveys that might include questions that prompt the participant to choice between 2 statements. Each statement might contain an EA idea, but phrased in a different way. The goal would be to determine which verbiage is more palatable. Another type of question might measure which statement is more likely to convince the participant of a given view, or to take a certain action. The audience would be those who were not already EAs. Ideally the result would be a set of word & phrase choices that were statistically proven to be more palatable & also better at convincing people of changing their views or taking action. This set of language could then be scaled as a best practice across a wide variety of community building & fund raising efforts.
Has anyone thought, read or written about the possibility of using civil lawsuits to accomplish good? The basic idea being that people/organizations in positions of power generally don't change things for the better until it gets too uncomfortable not to. One way to accomplish this is by applying pressure through the legal system.
Based on my understanding of the legal system in the US, there are 2 types of lawsuit: criminal and civil. It's much harder to win the former (burden of proof) and the results are binary (innocent or guilty). The latter is easier to win and has more of a spectrum of potential outcomes, including financial payment but also demands of organizational change. I've heard that in some arenas, people tend to default to criminal suits and not think of pursuing civil, even though they may be more likely to result in desired outcomes.
I guess the question would be if there were scenarios where it would make sense to put money into "pressuring" leaders/organizations into ethical actions through the use of civil lawsuit (vs putting money into other levers). This idea can get questionable pretty fast, but I think there is no limit to the number of suits that can be brought against someone by multiple people and for different reasons. Thus there are multiple "strategies" that can be employed.