Related: I have also recommended it be possible to submit specific research questions to Effective Thesis, but never heard back. Submitting EA-relevant positions to 80,000 hours seems like another great tool. +1
Yes there is a kind of “Narcissism of small differences” in which societal progress is measured in the context of a wealthy western countries instead of the broader world. The social justice initiatives in the U.S. do not benefit or extend to people of color in poorer countries who often suffer under even more pronounced economic or state injustices (e.g. deadly malaria mosquitoes, malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, jobs, education, and internet, government oppression, etc). I believe this is in part because people in the U.S. don’t know how how much worse quality of life can be in poorer or more authoritarian countries.
I think you have a very good point Max. One thing I have repeatedly witnessed in conversations with progressive college students is a bordering-conspiratorial distrust of big institutions (e.g. government, courts, public education, etc) and a favorable view of “dramatic restructuring of society, in ways that EAs may be skeptical by default of for a variety of reasons.”
For example the student government at my university will almost weekly publish some scathing article or series of tweets about the Universities unwillingness to ban police from campus or mandate a second ethnic studies requirement in which it is assumed that because the university does not immediately bend to the will of progressive students it is at best unsupportive of students of color and at worst racist. One branded as such an institution can quickly fall out of favor even when making many other accommodations or structural changes.
The phenomenon is similar to the single issue voter where the only relevant criteria for trusting or mistrusting institutions is their stance on progressive race/gender issues. Even when said institution does a lot of really good things, these can become overlooked or ignored by a single accusation of perpetuating inequality, racism, or some other form of unacceptable behavior.
Like you brought up in your above post, I believe this is in part because progressives care a lot about ‘Fairness/Cheating’ aspect whereas EA’s might just look at the outcome or consequences of an institution and be like “wow that is doing a lot of great work.”
I didn’t read the entire article, but overall I thought it was alright. I thought your definition of shallow should have been more flushed out and to me that just took away from everything else. I think all comments add value.
Did I get them all? :D
Yea that is very interesting. Foreign aid is definitely not a super important issue for voters in the U.S. but it is surprisingly bipartisan. I think even those with more hawkish or isolationist messages recognize for the importance of foreign aid for national security.
Increasing public awareness on foreign aid spending could definitely help incentivize more reform. I applaud the efforts by the ONE campaign.
Hi Tony. I just released a second post Is Foreign Aid Effective? where I share a review of aid effectiveness literature. Overall I think that yes aid is an effective mechanism to do good in the world. Important functions like food security and humanitarian relief are almost entirely dependent on foreign aid and are definitely “effective.”
Of course the effectiveness of aid is still far from ideal. There lot of examples in which foreign aid projects had no impact or even a negative impact on the recipient countries. Much like we have discovered with charities, effectiveness often varies at orders of magnitude. I imagine foreign aid programs are similar. Foreign aid also hasn’t produced much measurable economic growth in poor countries for reasons which I highlight in my second post.
I think there is also reasons for optimism regarding trends in foreign aid. There seems to be a significant shift among countries to implement more randomized control trials and generally be more transparent.The transformation of USAID is a good example a positive step towards more effective foreign aid.