First, I’m not referring GD as our best charity, but just as a minimal standard for EA causes.
Second, last time I checked (please, update if I’m wrong):
GD was considered to be saving 1 life per U$7000 on nov 2016 by GW: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KiWfiAGX_QZhRbC9xkzf3I8IqsXC5kkr-nwY_feVlcM/edit#gid=1034883018
GW considered 1 life = 35 QALY. So, I estimate GD results in U$200/QALY
(Actually, there are huge uncertainties over this estimate, and GW is not conclusive about GDs effectiveness in terms of lives and QALY. But one could pick AMF or SCI instead as a standard)
I’m assuming DALY = 1 - QALY
Enthea’s estimate of psychedelics liberalization is of $472/DALY.
I do agree that QALY is biased towards some interventions, and that mental health is usually underestimated by healthy people (I suspect they are unduly led by the lack of physical and apparent symptoms). I do think we should find out how to treat depression properly (maybe some neglected, cheap and scalable solution end up becoming an EA-like charity).
However, I don’t believe Enthea poll is free of biases, either; particularly, it seems to me that people in developed countries consistently underestimate the burden of disease and poverty in the 3o world, screwing the comparison in the opposite way.
Notwithstanding, my main point is not so much about impact, but about neglectedness; 32 million people had experimented with psychedelics only in US by 2010 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917651/). If each of them donated an average of U$ 1 for this cause, they would match all of GDs transfers in 2017. I do believe we should liberalize psychedelics—and probably we will, eventually,since many people with considerable purchase power are interested in it.
Got it, thanks.
So, I estimate GD results in U$200/QALY…
Enthea’s estimate of psychedelics liberalization is of $472/DALY
As far as I know, GiveWell considers cost-effectiveness estimates as informative for efficacy differences that are orders of magnitude apart.
For two interventions that are on the same order of magnitude, the analyses aren’t granular enough to believably inform which is more effective.
Agree. I kind of regret mentioning QALY in my argument, but do notice that I was trying to be healthy skeptical when I mentioned “I still don’t think that donating for this cause would result, in the margin, in more QALY than donating to GD, in general”. I never said I was confident that GD would result in more QALYs than supporting psychedelics.
Okay. I’m not sure if there’s a crux here, in that case.
If each of them donated an average of U$ 1 for this cause, they would match all of GDs transfers in 2017
fwiw I think it’s very hard to get people to donate to things.
From section 4(b) of the OP: “Roughly $40 million has been committed to psychedelic research since 2000.”
True, but people are already competing to invest in THC providers. Why wouldn’t they do it for psychedelics?
I think there will be psychedelic for-profit ventures & investment. (That’s a different claim than the claim that there’s already enough donor dollars in the space.)
My current view is that almost all of the for-profit investment that comes into the space will flow through highly suboptimal structures (e.g. pharma companies trying to achieve frivolous patents that give them a monopoly – this is already happening with esketamine).
Savvy philanthropic work could help push us out of that regime & towards a better one.