What do you think EA could learn from the ‘Progress Studies’ movement ?
My perception of EA is that a lot of it is focused on saving lives and relieving suffering. I don’t see as much focus on general economic growth and scientific and technological progress.
There are two things to consider here. First, there is value in positives above and beyond merely living without suffering. Entertainment, travel, personal fitness and beauty, luxury—all of these are worth pursuing. Second, over the long run, more lives have been saved and suffering relieved by efforts to pursue general growth and progress than direct charitable efforts. So we should consider the balance between the two.
To EA’s credit, I think the community does understand this much better than other proponents of altruism and charity! And some EA organizations put resources into long-term scientific progress, which is great.
One thing I’m puzzled by is why there doesn’t seem to be a strong focus within EA on institutional reform (or not as strong as I would expect). A root-cause analysis on most human suffering, if it went deep enough, would blame government and cultures that don’t foster science, invention, industry, and business. It seems that the most high-leverage long-term plan to reduce human suffering would be to spread global rationality and capitalism.