High fertility and death rates are normal for illiterate societies, this has been the way we lived for 1000′s of years. The way to low fertility and low death rates is via basic education.
-Social movements (eg Fair Trade, Black Lives Matter, drug reform/prison reform movements)
I have been part of a few. Those perspectives are really useful.
· Global poverty that isn’t health. I’d like to see a handful of people in EA with expertise in, for example, climate policy, or education charities, or energy poverty in a developing world context.
Education and Human Development Indicators are something that EA needs to pick up.
No takers so far. As can be seen from the votes on my comments.
After spending more than half a billion dollars, and potentially directing more than 100 millon dollars every year. EA community has no understanding of why HDI was created, and has no answer for why Education was dropped.
“Global health and development” = HDI—Education
It is not a question of money, it is a question of Diversity and Inclusion.
My hypothesis is that if humanity really understands how the world works then the problems can be solved easily, otherwise we will keep putting effort into less effective ways, sure EA is more effective but it still has far to go, the deficit in EA is not money it is understanding.
Thanks trammell. I notice that only you told me why, I assume I got 5 downvotes at a minimum.
While not directly on topic, giving more is about bigger impact, if D&I is poor EA impact is worse. That’s why I responded. My thinking is that money is not the constraint an understanding or lack of it is the constraint in improving the world. For which EA needs open hearts and minds, not https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-group_favoritism
hey, interesting post. i dont think EAers should beat themselves up about how much they donate or not donate. anybody who gives 10% for EA has done more than 99.99% of humanity, that is worth a good nights sleep with a clear conscience.
However the EA community should ask, if they are missing a cause priority. Why EA won’t talk about race, gender, intersectionality etc.. EA will be more effective if those lenses are used. Likewise diversity in EA is poor, the papers and experts referred to are western, with little representation of voices from people around the world. The just concluded EA Global is a good example of this, even “Global Health and Development” track featured two people from the USA.
“Global Health and Development” itself is problematic framing, the UN via UNDP has published the Human Development Index, EA should be at a minimum focused on Human Development Indicators and not arbitrarily decide according to their biases.
(To people who want to downvote please explain why)
Answer from Elie Hassenfeld source
Q) On Gender Inequality, reproductive health, etc., GiveWell hasn’t done much work on this. Do you see gender equality as having intrinsic value? What are your thoughts on women’s empowerment?
We’re broadly consequentialist in the giving that we do—focused on the direct impact on the world
We take that utilitarian perspective rather than the philosophical value of justice or helping the least
Focusing on equality per se has not been a focus for that reason
We could treat this differently by seeing gender inequality as an intrinsic value, rather than just an instrumental value.
Within the broader framework, we could treat it as an intrinsic value
It’s been a major challenge to weigh different good outcomes that charities do
Some charities improve health, some improve well-being
We try to solve this by using moral weights, to compare the good achieved by different charitable outcomes
These are things that we don’t have the right answers, and our approach to answer these have evolved over time
We used to take the median of what staff believe, to IDInsight to hear from beneficiaries on what they value
We now have a part of our team assigned to these questions, to decide which outcomes would have intrinsic weight
On reproductive health specifically, we’ve looked into that, and we couldn’t find charities that are competitive with our top charities
That’s still in the scope of where we’ll look into
Interesting replacing “thing X” with “basic education” reads as follows
My four-fold “smell test” for what is important to development
I have a four-fold criteria for whether something is potentially an important determinant of development, or more narrowly, just economic growth, and I am happy if “basic education” that I am proposing is “good for development” can satisfy all four (and then can move on from these simple facts about potential importance to tease out complicated questions of proximal, distal, and reverse causality).
One, countries differ in their level of development by an order of magnitude. Countries that are developed should have more of basic education than countries that aren’t. If Denmark and Canada don’t have more of basic education than Mali or Nepal I am kind of suspicious.
Two, since now developed countries are almost an order of magnitude more developed than they were in 1870 I am happy if there is more of basic education in developed countries now than 140 years ago. If Germany and Japan don’t have more of basic education (or at least the same amount) than they did in 1870 I am kind of suspicious.
Three, since over the period since 1950 some countries have seen their development improve incredibly rapidly and others have seen almost no progress I am happy if basic education is more prevalent in rapid development successes than in development failures. If Korea and Taiwan don’t have more of basic education than Haiti and Nigeria then I am kind of suspicious.
Four, since countries change in their pace of development (and this is particularly true of economic growth, less so of human development indicators) dramatically over time, I am happy if there is more of basic education in a country in periods when development progress is rapid than in periods when development progress is slow. If China doesn’t have more of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth accelerated by 3.3 ppa) or if Cote d’Ivoire doesn’t have less of basic education after 1978 than before 1978 (as growth decelerated by 3.7 ppa) then I am kind of suspicious.
Basic education easily passes the first 3 tests. The final one also passes, with a time delay of 20 years (which is roughly the time it takes a kid to go through school and start working.)
human development indicators
good to see Lant Pritchett give a nod to human development indicators (and indirectly to the human development index)
accumulation of human capital, technological change, capability in the product space, or “institutions” (or, more deeply, what is cause and what is consequence amongst these elements themselves).
Good to see that room is left for human capital to be a cause and not merely a consequence, as most in EA seem to think
But nearly all contenders in debates about economic growth or development
Good to see subtle acknowledgement that “economic growth” and “development” can be different.
As a starting point EA should think from a human development standpoint, and not silently drop education from the definition of development.
Developing countries are very patriarchal, e.g. China, India have a distorted gender ratio at birth, women/girls lag in access to health care, education, power etc..
Given this, as far as I know GiveWell charities don’t have a gender lens, neither do your reports talk much about gender.
Do you think a gender focus would be useful? If yes, why has this not been done.
If not, then why not?
Thanks Aaron. I try not to assume anything, and usually ask for clarification. I should have done the same here.
My fundamental disagreement with the EA community in on the importance of basic education (high school equivalent in USA)
Thanks for the link.
Health and Education … Three out of those five are already front and center in EAs’ awareness anyway
According to drawdown Health and Education is mostly about basic education (high school equivalent in USA) and access to contraception. Contraception is a minor issue that EA correctly pays little attention.
Education on the other hand is given very little attention in EA, and is the critical factor in human well being. Sadly a big miss by EA.
Health, nutrition and education improvements also have positive impact on GDP growth, not just the other way around
Precisely. This is the story of Kerala, China (pre-reform)
First, thanks! I had no idea Afonso de Albuquerque’s conquests had been so marvelous
I would not call any conquest marvelous
combined with general chaos and disruption
That chaos and disruption is critical. Even before Cortes set foot, death from disease made native societies very weak and easy to conquer. 1493 deals with this aspect.
There have always been wars, victors, conquered in history, I consider Afonso as just one more example of the same.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Paperback – October 10, 2006by Charles C. Mann
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created Paperback – July 24, 2012by Charles C. Mann
I found those books useful and interesting on the question of conquest. Disease and death from disease I think is the reason for dismantling of local empires. The same did not happen in the rest of the world.
Alexander, Genghis Khan and others like that routinely rose and fell over millenia, those stories are spread in time. The Americas are a different story because of the disease vector.
Thanks Linch, a better indicator than adult literacy is youth literacy.
In China 1950, for kids aged 15-19 21.86% of boys had no education, for girls 49.9% had no education.
By 1980 for kids 15-19 1.32% of boys and 3.88% of girls had no education. This is a dramatic improvement.
plus at least naively, we would expect the Cultural Revolution to have wiped out some of the progress
the cultural revolution only stalled increase in education beyond 9th grade, so it had very little effect on literacy rates
From “Challenging Myths about China’s One-Child Policy”
The third fatal problem with the “400 million births prevented” claim is that it totally ignores the most significant source of fertility decline worldwide: economic development. As the popular slogan has it, “economic development is the best contraceptive”. China’s dramatic post-1978 economic boom and the profound social changes unleashed by rising incomes and levels of education and rapid urbanization would have driven down birth rates even in the absence of state birth planning campaigns. Given the much more rapid pace of economic and social change in China than in any of the 16 comparison countries used in Figure 3, it is highly likely that the trajectory of birth rate decline in China after 1980 due to this source alone would have been steeper than the average for the 16 comparison countries, and therefore even closer to the observed birth rate changes, as shown in the bottom line in Figure 3. In sum, the claim that China’s one-child policy prevented 400 million births is entirely bogus.
There were two separate claims that I made
1) One child policy had no effect on China’s total population
Yong Cai is the best researcher on this question. He clearly says one-child policy had little impact of China’s total population. Amartya Sen discusses this issue, and comes to similar conclusion.
2) Regarding effects of education of fertility.
Yong Cai is not the expert I would consult.
Income, education, urbanization all correlate with declining fertility, and he points that out clearly.
It is well known in the human development community that in 1979 pre-reform China had much better health, education, fertility indicators than would be expected given its level of income. The question is why? The answers lie in their social policies at that time (under Mao), where an emphasis was given to basic education and basic healthcare (with barefoot doctors 1 2)
I like Amartya Sen’s discussion on China best
hey brunoparga, it is not one interaction that I find problematic. i am happy to be voted down when people respond back. it is those downvotes without a response that troubles me.
i like to interact and try to see others point of view, so its totally ok if you d’ont agree with me, say so, and explain your reasons. we may not agree at the end, but atleast we can try to understand each other.
Regarding voting. I have consistently been “controversial” when I have positive karma on a comment, I can see both +ve and -ve votes. While a few are not voted, and a lot of my comments get voted down.
You have 200 comments with 2000+ karma, I have 100 comments with 25 karma.
This is a pattern I see consistently.
I pointed out the context in which I made my comment.
China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.
From reading Yong Cai and Amartya Sen etc.. its clear that one child policy had no effect on China’s population. First let’s agree on those facts.
Regarding education and fertility. I gave you a third paper by Yong Cai in which he acknowledges that education plays a role. Yong Cai is a China specialist not an expert on fertility and demography. As a scholar he reflects the thinking of his peers, and is cautious.
Wolfgang Lutz and others from IIASA and Wittgenstein center for demography research link between fertility and education. They are very clear that there is a strong link.
Whereas before your stated that “widespread education” was the factor explaining China’s reduced fertility, now you state that education was one factor among many.
I didn’t restate my position. I only quoted Yong Cai, it does not mean I agree completely with him.
I said as much when I wrote
Yong Cai is a specialist demographer focused on China, and not on the link between education and fertility.
You have to appreciate that this takes a lot of time, and a mental toll. If I dont give all my sources, it is because I have pondered this question for years and have read quite a few papers and books. I am not an academic to keep track and source everything.