Robert Wiblin mused about how it’s very likely there will be a long spate of public distrust and criticism of expert communities in medical research, public health and epidemiology, whose collective failures, perceived or real, will be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert analogized this illustration to how public trust in expert communities of economists plummeted after the Great Recession. He gave a brief but broad overview of different aspects of this.
I’ve seen more of the EA community feel a similar ambiguity about the relationship of expert communities to the public, and to communities like effective altruism. This is especially the case as many in effective altruism and related communities (rationality, existential risk) were focusing on and preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic going beyond China up to a few months before the rest of the world was focusing on it. I’ve shared Robert’s thoughts here as a springboard for meticulous discussion of this subject within the EA community.