Thanks Ramiro! Yes, the efforts private and public companies make in order to be or at least appear to be “aligned” with SDGs is one of the things I find most interesting and worth making use of. They have been widely adopted across different sectors perhaps because they included private & non-profit sector in their elaboration (and great outreach and communication strategies as well I’m guessing). Also worth studying how they became such a big deal (and also explore until what extent they are a big deal or more a symbolic statement).The concern for animal welfare is a very interesting case study, thanks for pointing that out! I’ve had it in the back of my head but haven’t thought too much about it. I will point this out to Ana Diez from Argentina, she was interested in finding case studies of overlaps (or significant differences) between SDGs and EA’s cause prioritization.
Thanks for this initiative, I will answer the survey. Regarding the questions here are some comments: -Has your participation in online social events changed over the course of the pandemic? If yes, how has it changed, and why?I would say that the pandemic was the reason why I started being more involved in EA in the first place thanks to EAGx (before this I only read stuff or listened to podcasts but never got really involved). EAGx exceeded all my expectations about online events. The platform with the “matchmakings” , the 1 on 1s and the icebreakers were awesome. However, after that I felt more reluctant to join any other online event… perhaps they feel less “official” and I get the impression that only really involved in EA people attend. Perhaps it’s easier to come up with excuses about lack of time with those ones… Or perhaps you start considering the time it takes to meet new people and you prefer to talk to people you already know before building new relationships (in my case I just message directly the people that I know instead of attending events).
-Do you prefer small group (3-5 people) to 1-1 discussions for socializing online?I have never been in a 3-5 people meetup (just 1-1) but I think I would love it, both sound important and different. For career advice or networking 1-1 sound better to me but for discussion/having a good time/commenting stuff 3-5 could be great. But I´m not sure…
Thanks for the post! I agree with the importance of peer accountability and I have been trying to apply it myself. Some comments about helpful and unhelpful butt-kicking:
You say the butt-kicking is called for when the person has a better understanding of the opportunities to be considered, but I don’t think this is necessarily the case. I think hardly someone else will have a better idea of how opportunities fit within our own plans but the value can come precisely from the butt kicker´s ignorance about all of the uncertainties involved (the factors paralyzing our own decisions). The butt kicker is able to “zoom out” of the actual situation and “remove the noise” from the decision...maybe? That’s how I feel it sometimes haha.
You also mentioned that butt-kicking is not ideal when the bottleneck is related to financial or psychological issues. I think this one could go both ways; I can imagine a situation in which the person is stuck with a harmful decision (such as a terrible boss, burnout, etc) but justifies not taking the next step due to psychological issues that come as a result of those harmful environments. In that case an external person kicking your butt can be particularly useful, perhaps even more than in other situations. I think this butt kicking thing can be a way of acknowledging and avoiding your own biases and motivated reasoning to stay in harmful situations that stall your career.
So in general thanks for the post and for sharing your ideas. Hope to see more butt-kicking tools inside EA community.
Thanks Linch, these are very good points (I´m particularly interested in number 3, I never thought of it that way, but I agree).
Thanks a lot!
Definitely. It is a puzzle that I constantly have in mind. I would say that the line could be drawn only when it is used kind of as a “last resource”? Haha so it makes sense to “use parochialism to promote EA-like goals” (and in your example I suppose that not having the 100+ option wouldn´t have meant more funds for Covid-19 Africa) but it makes sense only if there is no possible way to fight parochialism (or if it is excessively costly, which I think is in many contexts and with certain individuals). But as you say, it would be interesting to find where that threshold is (when is it unnecessarily hard to fight parochialism and should we aim for more cost-effectiveness within that restricted scope?). Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for your comment, this is insightful. I like the distinction between as a means to create additional impact and as means to help locals. Also thanks for pointing out other ways in which this latter option informs long-term priorities, there are many I did not consider before such as the further funds that are left for outer moral circles when people care for inner moral circles more cost-effectively, although I wonder if that is always the case or if the time/effort invested finding cost-effective local causes to care for inner moral circles could be better used otherwise, like finding ways to expand moral circles for example haha but so far I share your views and I think that it is valuable to spot these areas acknowledging the limits. Thanks again!
Hi Devon, thanks for watching. Here is the Google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wsAivVBb2yj3tXjG6_3dBMK5BSJy0SoOUT1P2ek0Ddk/edit
But some of the best and more informative replies are on the comments of this forum post, I´ll organize them on the document one of these days(still thinking how haha). Thanks!
Due to this post I addressed this topic during the EA Unconference, here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byWYr2oH1y8
Thanks a lot Brian! I´m impressed by EA Philippines haha your achievements are great and I love to see how this is being done in different countries. I wonder if global priorities would be different (and how) if many countries did something like this. Good luck with that research but so far it looks very interesting and replicable in other countries haha thanks a lot.
Hi Vaidehi, your reply got me thinking and I have a couple of questions (I´ll put it here in case somebody else has an answer). So… for people in middle or low income countries that want to pick a career to do the most good, should we focus on global problems or is it a good idea to find country-level or regional-level focus areas in terms of their importance, neglectedness and tractability? I suspect that there are some considerations such as our opportunity to reach higher-level positions in our countries vs somewhere else. For example, I imagine that if someone from Brazil wants to improve institutional decision making it would be easier for him/her to improve Brazil’s executive branch than finding a path where he/she could improve US institutions (even if US politics could affect more people due to its higher influence).
Do you think that 1. zooming in to country-level or region-level cause areas could help EA identify more accurately priority paths worldwide? and 2.do you think more impact could be achieved if people from different countries find their comparative advantage to focus on their own regions?
Wow! Thanks a lot Vaidehi, this is so helpful. The prioritisation part looks like a great starting point. I´ll check it out carefully and think more about this. Probably discussing this with people from similar countries could bring up great new ideas and cause areas where we could have that comparative advantage. Thanks for those links and for your insightful reply!
I´m in, sounds fun! Thanks for all of your comments, definitely they add important aspects that I had not considered. Let´s discuss them further and thanks for reaching out :)
Thanks for this reply, I agree with everything you say and those are very good points, it´s definitely harder to be involved. Thanks for pointing out the example from Singapore, I will check it out.
Another issue that comes to my mind is the discussion around AI safety, it would be great to have more visions from low and middle income countries since a very important aspect of AI safety includes how AI is unequally distributed in the world and within countries (in some countries we are already seeing how AI can magnify existing inequalities, who knows how that will turn out in the future...).
Thanks again and I´m making a list of all of these issues to keep them in mind :)
Here´s a link to my recent post about it: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/zDktSTEstmy2X5big/geographic-diversity-in-ea
content copied here:
I suspect that due to lack of diversity, questions that could be relevant to EA have not been considered enough and here I share some of the ones that I deal with the most (although I don’t have a strong position about most of these things and probably I just have not been aware if they DO HAVE been considered, in that case I would appreciate a lot if you could send links or recommendations):
-Whether giving locally could be better (or not) for donors in low and middle income countries:
Countries with weak currencies such as mine face high exchange rates (especially in hard times such as this pandemic). I have the intuition that with a volatile dollar price it doesn’t always make sense to donate to EA recommended charities and perhaps donors could allocate better their donations by donating locally. In my case I just switch to save and donate later (because I’m young and my salary is low haha) but what if I still want to donate a little bit to keep motivation? Or what if I want to convince my friend’s uncle to donate?I still want to have an informed opinion.
-Spot regional differences within countries when answering different types of questions: Even if my country’s GDP is higher than many countries where effective donations according to EA are allocated, there are many regions within my country where poverty is extremely high, even higher than in richer cities from poorer countries. Those differences are hard to spot if EA spots “poverty” as a whole without zooming in geographical zones.
-Addressing the real potential of going into policy in LMICs: EA recommends policy careers but I suspect that it’s an even more important path in LMICs, where policies are weaker, policymakers are even less evidence based and where institutions have a lot more potential to improve.
-Whether there is a chance to adapt EA to other cultural values:
Individualism vs collectivism: I feel that EA was born in cultures that value individualistic goals (even if the focus is on the world as a whole). For example, I see EA deeply linked to “western”´s understanding of freedom, independence of thought, skepticism, mistrust for authority and social norms, etc… However, other cultures with more collectivist mindsets can struggle to link altruism to those specific values. In many cultures altruism is deeply linked to religion or family bonds and giving is prioritized when you help those that surround you. Even if there is no rational argument to value more a life in my country vs a life in sub-saharan Africa, what if EA is losing an opportunity to take advantage of these cultural drives towards giving by, for example, strengthening local networks of charities.
Nationalism: Even if I’m not fond of nationalism I do recognize it as a huge drive for altruism in my country (probably in many others as well). I won’t convince my friend’s uncle to donate to Against Malaria but I could convince him to donate to a colombian charity. Could we use those emotional bonds to promote doing good in an effective way at the same time?
-I wonder if there is a bias when EA talks about problems not being “neglected” enough when dismissing some cause areas or focus topics: an example that comes to my mind is gender inequality in governments or in the workplace. In EA there is a whole focus area on improving institutional decision making, which is great (actually there is where I want to focus); but what if there are easier and more urgent steps to be taken towards IIDM in LMICs such as focusing on women’s access to governments (something that in high income countries is not that neglected and has been widely addressed, or at least a lot more than in other countries). So would donating to organizations that are promoting women participation in governments in LMICS be a good cause to donate, taking into account that institutions in these countries face a huge problem that comes even before cognitive biases or poor decision making processes and it’s that there is not enough representation of 50% of the population?
I would love to know what has been said about these topics and feel free to reach out.