Pilif comments on Are You Sure You Want To Donate To The Against Malaria Foundation? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: [deleted] 26 December 2016 07:45:26PM 1 point [-]

Imagine two worlds:

In world 1 Alice is born. She sleeps under bednets and lives and proceeds to have children of her own 15-45 years after her birth. Alice's children make some more children, and they make some more, and more… And by the time our universe dies or the Earth is destroyed or humans are no more or humans stop having children, a million of people with Alice's genes have lived.

In world 2 Alice is born. She doesn't get a bednet and dies from malaria at age 4. Some (0-15) years after Alice's birth her parents create more children. On average they create 1 more child. That child, too, has children on their own, but it happens later than it would happen for Alice – about 10 years later. Because of that there will be only 500000 people with this little kid's genes. Total population of humans throughout the future will be smaller. Therefore less utilons (assuming total utilitarianism and some other ethical systems).

How come these researches don't calculate stuff like this? I wish they did. It seems extremely important even though I haven't figured out what population ethics I prefer.

I am not claiming that AMF is actually better than everything else. I am just making an objection, and hopefullt someone will research different charities' impact on populations size and happiness from now till the end of time.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 05 January 2017 10:46:01AM 0 points [-]

Some researchers do consider this sort of thing, such as Bostrom: http://www.nickbostrom.com/astronomical/waste.html

As I argued though, if you care about total utils over in this impersonal sense, you should probably support x-risk, not AMF.