The EA movement’s ability to scalably use labour refers to its ability to efficiently allocate many people to valuable work and to recommend valuable actions large segments of the population could take. There have been discussions within EA about the movement’s strengths and weaknesses on those fronts, the consequences of that, how to improve, and how this all might change as EA grows.
A related but narrower discussion centers on the concept of “Task Y” (Lawsen 2019): a task which has one or more of the following properties:
It be performed usefully by people who are not currently able to choose their career path entirely based on EA concerns
It’s clearly effective, and doesn’t become much less effective the more people who are doing it
Its positive effects are obvious to the person doing the task
Other related ideas include the claims that EA is vetting-constrained or that some of the major bottlenecks the EA movement currently faces are related to organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management (Todd, 2020).
EA person (2019) EA is vetting-constrained, Effective Altruism Forum, March 9.
Koehler, Arden & Keiran Harris (2020) Benjamin Todd on what the effective altruism community most needs, 80,000 Hours, November 12.
Lawsen, Alex (2019) Can the EA community copy Teach for America? (Looking for Task Y), Effective Altruism Forum, February 21.
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