I think one should distinguish between whether wealthier countries are more progressive, and whether wealthier individuals within a country are more progressive.
Wealthier countries do seem more progressive, on plausible definitions on those notions (but that leaves the issue of causality).
Whether wealthier individuals are more progressive than their compatriots is a tricky issue. One factor is education, which is associated with both wealth and progressive views. See this interesting paper by Piketty.
However, my memory is that for a while there was some more specific work in psychology that was allegedly identifying properties that predicted team success better than the individual abilities of its members, which then largely didn’t replicate.
Woolley et al (2010) was an influential paper arguing that individual intelligence doesn’t predict collective intelligence well. Here’s one paper criticising them. I’m sure there are plenty of other relevant papers (I seem to recall one paper providing positive evidence that individual intelligence predicted group performance fairly well, but can’t find it now).
Fwiw, I wrote a post explaining such dynamics a few years ago.
An alternative is to just have the hourglass as a symbol/logo, and not a flag. There is an EA symbol (the lightbulb) but no flag.
Also, one might consider making the hourglass less stylised, and to drop the X-risk symbolism. Longtermism isn’t intrinsically tied to X-risk. One approach would be to strictly focus on the long time duration, and drop associations with X-risk, space colonisation, and so on. It depends on how one conceives of longtermism.
I agree that changing names is hard and costly (you can’t do it often), something that definitely should be taken into account.
To some extent, I think that what those who dislike effective altruism dislike isn’t that term, but rather the set of ideas it expresses. As such, replacing it with another term that’s supposed to express broadly the same set of ideas (like “priorities” or “global priorities”) might make less of a difference than one might think at first glance (though it likely makes some difference).
What might make a greater difference, for better or worse, is choosing a term that expresses a quite different set of ideas. E.g. I think that people have substantially different reactions to the term “longtermism”.
Another consideration is that one may want the flag or symbol to have relatively direct temporal associations (one way or the other), since longtermism concerns time. It seems to me that Ryan’s suggestion doesn’t have that; at least not very directly—it’s more about us being small relative to the vastness of the universe, which is something spatial rather than temporal.
Greg’s suggestion has stronger and more direct temporal associations, I’d say.
Generally, it’s of course not very straightforward to represent something temporal visually.
To me it seems that longtermism is a quite simple idea. In a relevant sense it’s just one idea or value. And it seems to me that a longtermist flag should capture or express that simplicity. Therefore, I might favour a flag with just one symbol and two colours, or so.
That’s similar to the utilitarian flag. Utilitarianism is simple, and the flag is correspondingly simple (or broadly so).Another example of correspondence between the simplicity/complexity of the flag and the values it expresses is the French Tricolour. One interpretation of it (not the only one, but let’s ignore that) is that the three colours stand for Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood.
My sense is that the forecasting community overlaps more with the PEARL communities, e.g. the fact-checking does.
Another adjacent community you might want to mention is the forecasting community.
That’s an interesting consideration.
I just came across a paper that argued that pre-historic hunter-gatherers likely on average lived in less egalitarian societies than previously thought (though there was substantial variation).
Many researchers assume that until 10-12,000 years ago, humans lived in small, mobile, relatively egalitarian bands composed mostly of kin. This “nomadic-egalitarian model” informs evolutionary explanations of behavior and our understanding of how contemporary societies differ from those of our evolutionary past. Here, we synthesize research challenging this model and propose an alternative, the diverse histories model, to replace it. We outline the limitations of using recent foragers as models of Late Pleistocene societies and the considerable social variation among foragers commonly considered small-scale, mobile, and egalitarian. We review ethnographic and archaeological findings covering 34 world regions showing that non-agricultural peoples often live in groups that are more sedentary, unequal, large, politically stratified, and capable of large-scale cooperation and resource management than is normally assumed. These characteristics are not restricted to extant Holocene hunter-gatherers but, as suggested by archaeological findings from 27 Middle Stone Age sites, likely characterized societies throughout the Late Pleistocene(until c. 130 ka), if not earlier. These findings have implications for how we understand human psychological adaptations and the broad trajectory of human history.
See also this Twitter thread and this Aeon article. I don’t know what the consensus of the field is, however.
There might be a risk that some view the (very) long-run future as a “luxury problem”, and that focusing on that, rather than short-term problems in your own country, reveals your privilege. (That attitude may be particularly common concerning causes like AI risk.) My guess is that people are less likely to have such an attitude towards someone who is focusing on global poverty.
Of course—I’m not suggesting otherwise. My point is just to say that you can cut other forms of spending as well, just as you can cut spending on raising a child.
Sure, there are multiple ways of reducing these costs. But the same could be said about consumption among people who don’t have children. So I’d say that raising children is relatively expensive compared with other forms of consumption.
One study found that raising a child on average cost £10,822 per year in the UK 2014. I don’t know how they calculated this, however. It looks like they didn’t deduct child benefits from the cost, which one presumably should.
Figure 2 looks at the top two parties, but the legend to Figure 1 doesn’t say it’s restricted to the top two parties. And Figure 1 also shows decreasing polarisation in Germany. However, I haven’t looked into this research in depth.
Sounds great, and like the right call.
I’d be interested in the total number of pageviews and unique pageviews per year for the whole forum, plus yearly growth (unless there already is a post with that info).
Thanks for this interesting piece.> To illustrate, consider that the 10 million Ashkenazi Jews living today descended from a population of just 350 individuals who lived between 600 and 800 million years ago (Commun, 2014).
Should this be “600 to 800 years ago”?
It seems that there haven’t been that many major insights in macrostrategy/global priorities research recently.One potential negative conclusion from that, that might seem natural, is that recent macrostrategy/global priorities research has been lacking in quality. But a more positive conclusion is that early macrostrategy/global priorities research had high quality, and that most of the major insights were therefore quickly identified.
On this view, the recent lack of insights isn’t a sign of recent lack of research quality, but rather a sign of early high research quality.
In my view, the positive conclusion is more warranted than the negative conclusion.